GREG O'KEEFFE: Why England boss Fabio Capello should turn to Everton's Leighton Baines next summer

13 February 2010 01:20
PICTURE the scene. Saturday June 12, Rustenburg, South Africa. England take on the USA in the first World Cup match of Group C.[LNB]Rarely have World Cup games had such a curious vested interest for Evertonians.[LNB]But already circumstances this week have contrived to make England's opening game against Bob Bradley's side an intriguing one.[LNB]When Ashley Cole limped off during Everton's magnificent 2-1 win over Chelsea on Wednesday, the future inadvertently looked a little more interesting for a certain Leighton Baines.[LNB]The 25-year-old Toffees left-back has 16 England under-21 caps already and not many would bet against him adding a senior cap to his name in England's March friendly against Egypt.[LNB]With number one choice Cole being ruled out for three months, coincidentally after a collision with USA's Landon Donavan, it gives Baines a massive opportunity to grab a ticket to ride to South Africa in June.[LNB]Last season, the Kirkby-born and bred defender was in terrific form supplying more assists than any other defender in the league, and smashed home a fantastic penalty in a nerve jangling FA Cup Semi final shoot out at Wembley.[LNB]There is no doubting that England could do with some unfazed and calm penalty takers in their squad for the South Africa showpiece.[LNB]Baines has maintained his form this season with some excellent performances and another five assists, more than left back hopefuls Cole, Wayne Bridge and Stephen Warnock.[LNB]This week David Moyes described Baines as "our most consistent player all season," and not many Blues would argue with the Scot.

Source: Liverpool_Echo