Howard Kendall: Leighton Baines' goal highlighted his class
It may be a little early to start talking about these things, but Leighton Baines must already be in contention for the Goal of the Season award with that thunderous free-kick at Newcastle.
It was a special goal. And it underlined something which I’ve always believed. Left-footers tend to have sublime ability with their ‘good’ foot, much more so than right-footers. And that’s because lefties tend not to use their ‘other’ foot as much as right-footers do, so perfect their ability with their good foot. You don’t get many left-footers who can use their right foot well too. But when your left is that good it usually doesn’t matter.
Lionel Messi doesn’t score many goals with his right foot or his head, but defenders still can’t work out ways of stopping him! And there was absolutely no stopping that free-kick from Baines. Obvious comparisons will be drawn with Kevin Sheedy, who was magical around the penalty area. But I also used to be very impressed by Matthew Le Tissier, then more recently Cristiano Ronaldo who perfected the art of getting free-kicks to rise and then dip viciously.
The fact that we’re talking about Baines’ effort in the same breath as players like that, though, simply underlines how phenomenal it was. It gave Everton a platform to go on and win at St James Park, and while I’ll always be thrilled to see any Everton victory, as a Geordie boy I can’t help but be a little saddened by what’s happening in the North-East now. When I was a boy my dad used to take me to watch both Newcastle and Sunderland, so it’s disappointing to see two clubs with such great fan bases suffering the way they are at present.
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