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Plenty of options in Wenger's Arsenal

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Baines targets England recall

Leighton Baines has not given up on his England dream and is aiming to regain his place in the Three Lions squad by reproducing the sort of form for Everton that convinced Fabio Capello to hand him an international debut last season.

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After featuring in the friendlies against Egypt and Mexico, Baines was a surprise omission from Fabio Capello's World Cup squad, losing out to Stephen Warnock.

Now Arsenal youngster Kieran Gibbs has leapfrogged above both men in the battle to be understudy to Ashley Cole.

It is hard to see that situation changing ahead of next month's Euro 2012 qualifier with Montenegro, even though Baines was one of the major influences behind Everton's remarkable comeback against Manchester United on Saturday.

But the 25-year-old is not allowing himself to get disheartened - and does not believe his international days are over.

"You never know where you are with England,'' Baines told the Liverpool Echo. "Before I got my first call-up I didn't know if I was close or a million miles away.

"The past has proved if your form is good every week then you will get looked at. Okay, it didn't work out quite as well as it could have done but I am only 25 and there is still time.''

The former Wigan star has been keeping up with events on the England front though. He was quick enough to get in touch with Toffees team-mate Phil Jagielka to offer his congratulations for the performances against Bulgaria and Switzerland that have placed major question marks over the defensive futures of established first-choices Rio Ferdinand and John Terry.

"Jags has been brilliant for England,'' Baines said. "I watched him against the Swiss and he looked so comfortable and assured at the back.

"I texted him after the game and said 'you looked like you had played 40 internationals'. He certainly didn't look like it was his sixth cap.

"The way he performed for England is the way he plays for us every week. He is a rock and a terrific defender.''

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