The England defender overcame a hamstring injury to play an influential part during the Blues impressive draw with Manchester City last weekend, providing the cross for Marouane Fellaini’s first half goal. David Moyes feared he might have been without his normally ever-present left-back, when the 27-year-old felt a twinge during the previous 1-1 draw with Arsenal, but Baines was determined not to miss out. The Blues boss has spoken previously this season of his concern that opposition teams will become accustomed to Baines’ threat, but his goalkeeper believes that won’t be a straight-forward task for rivals. He said:
“Every other team knows he is our go to guy. They try and stop him but most teams struggle because he’s so clever, and has an amazing engine. He just keeps going and going.
“We wouldn’t have let him not play (on Saturday).
“We would’ve dragged him out there and stuck a shirt on him and kicked him over the line regardless.
“He was brilliant as he is every week.”
The USA goalkeeper insists modest Baines is becoming more comfortable with being regarded as one of the best attacking full-backs in Europe. Baines has become an England regular under the stewardship of Three Lions coach Roy Hodgson and is also the first player in Europe's top five leagues to reach 50 chances created this season. And Howard has noticed a positive change in his team-mate. He added: “I think he seems comfortable as one of the top players now.
“That comes with consistent performances. People can say it about you and you can brush it off, but eventually you have to belief it because the evidence is there week in, week out.”