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Martinez believes Baines can emulate Lahm

by | 05/04/2014  Comments (68)  jump
Roberto Martinez has ambitious plans for Leighton Baines, believing that the England international has what it takes to eventually convert to a Philipp Lahm-style role as a central midfielder.

The manager took Baines to Old Trafford last Tuesday to watch the veteran Bayern Munich and Germany player take on Manchester United in the Champions League to allow his left back to study Lahm in the role in which he has been deployed by Pep Guardiola.

Martinez sees in Baines the same qualities that make Lahm so versatile and paved the way for him to migrate from his natural role as a fullback to a midfield holding role.

"I've always thought Leighton can develop into Philipp Lahm's role, it is in his make-up," Martinez said. "Not this season but in seasons to come he is someone who can play in that central role.

"I wanted him to watch Lahm in a live game because when it's on TV you only see the player when he's on the ball. It was good for Leighton to watch a player I feel he can be as good as or even better.

Many Evertonians have viewed Baines's attacking talents as being his strong suit and he has been put forward by some as a potential solution to England's lack of options in left midfield.

Martinez, though, clearly sees more merit in the defensive aspects of his game.

"Like Lahm, Leighton doesn't give the ball away, he's got a very low centre of gravity and technically he is as good as it gets. When you have that control of the ball and have been such a good defender, and as a left-back you have to be very good on one-v-one situations, it is very important to have that defensive mindset in those midfield areas. That is important for defensive balance.

"As a player, Leighton has been through so many different experiences and has always found a way to rise to new challenges in his career. I am convinced he can step up to a new challenge. You need to look at the physicality and he is a naturally fit boy so can easily go into the role. He can be more expansive in central midfield than in his left back role. That's why I wanted him to see it first hand."

Quotes sourced from The Guardian

Reader Comments

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Tony Cheek
106 Posted 05/04/2014 at 07:44:52
Forward thinking by Martinez. Could be a good move with Oviedo back next season, who has shown that he is more than able to fill Baines shoes at left back.
Peter Z Jones
108 Posted 05/04/2014 at 07:55:29
If the best right back in the world can do it, I don't see why the best left back can't.
Colin Glassar
109 Posted 05/04/2014 at 07:53:14
I’ve been thinking this for a while: Bainsey in MF, Oviedo in the Pienaar role, and Garbutt (when ready) LB. This would give us power, skill and pace down the left side of MF with the likes of Pienaar and McGeady able to play more centrally when needed. Brilliant Roberto.
Ben Cliff
114 Posted 05/04/2014 at 08:22:56
Sounds like he's preparing him for 3-5-2 to me...
John Daley
120 Posted 05/04/2014 at 08:52:02
Not wanting to question the wisdom of the boss but I'm not sure about this one at all. If any defender at the club looks suited to a defensive midfield role than I'd say it was Stones rather than Baines.
Ben Howard
122 Posted 05/04/2014 at 09:05:32
I'll trust Roberto's wisdom on this one. It's certainly an interesting proposition and he has a similar physique to Flamini too. I remember a couple of years ago there was an interesting article about Tony Hibbert converting to this role, after playing surprisingly well as an emergency centre back during our last memorable injury crisis. There does seem to be a fascination with converting a star performer in one position to a specialist in another; as though it's a measure of a genius manager.
Kevin Day
124 Posted 05/04/2014 at 09:12:28
I think Martinez is nothing more than Genius! We we're all saying in the summer that Baines can go for the right price etc, we all said he only has 2-3 years before his levels drop, low and behold Martinez gets him on a longer contract, obviously with this in mind, he sees a far far bigger picture than us mere supporters, if you think about it, Baines has a very good eye for a pass, if Martinez gets him in that central holding role I can see a little magician developing spraying those passes around from midfield.

John Daley, your correct in your view of John Stones, but if he is here for the long term, that may become his role further down the line, it wouldn't do him any harm learning that trade from watching Baines just in front of him week in week out, he's only 19 remember.

Jim Potter
126 Posted 05/04/2014 at 09:27:36
Oviedo was rightly becoming a big fan favourite before his untimely injury. If he can recover that form for next season then I would happily see Bainsy either in this deep lying role or ahead of Bryan on the left of midfield - as I believe Pienaar has sadly lost it now and could only ever be 'an impact sub'.

Baines is class. I think his head was messed up by the United talk - but next season he will hopefully be back to his best - and the 'aLahm' bells will be ringing for our opponents. (Had to be done).

Adam Carey
128 Posted 05/04/2014 at 09:48:26
It could be a clever move. Even if Barry does sign in the summer, he is coming to the end of his top flight career. Having Baines partnering McCarthy in the holding roles, not many would beat them for pace, and it would make room for Oviedo to fly down that left wing with Baines effortlessly covering the left back position. He'd also have range to shoot at goal more, helping us add to our goal tally from midfield.

Regarding Stones, I'd prefer to see him grow into a ball playing centre back. I remember Sol Campbell at his best for England striding out of defence with the ball and it just lifted the team. Pushing a defender into midfield didn't work out for Rodwell, and Stones could be a fixture in our defence for years to come with Martinez wanting to pass from the back.

Scott Jones
129 Posted 05/04/2014 at 09:47:45
Looks like Roberto has big plans for the future.When Roberto has had time to build a bigger squad, I can see us adopting many different formations that allow us to be flexible and confuse.

Baines has got good technique and can run all day.I can't see any negatives in moving Baines to centre midfield.

Paul David
130 Posted 05/04/2014 at 10:03:11
I really can't see this working.
Steven Telford
136 Posted 05/04/2014 at 10:16:38
We have been quiet relatively quiet on the left since Martinez arrived, it used to be are major attacking area.
What he is saying now, may be a sign of trying to make simultaneous room for both Baines and Oviado.

In a way I think we have quite missed Oviado.

James Wong
137 Posted 05/04/2014 at 10:21:59
I mostly agree with Roberto though I think Baines needs to develop his right foot a little bit more to play in a central defensive midfield role. Otherwise I think Baines definitely has the vision and coolness to play there.
Peter Bell
138 Posted 05/04/2014 at 10:22:25
Totally agree Scott, I think his long term vision is to build a squad of players who are comfortable in numerous positions of the pitch, allowing the potential to change tactics not just game by game, but throughout the game also.
Brent Stephens
141 Posted 05/04/2014 at 10:19:00
If it's in the Gruniad, it must be true (!). Great article. Recommend you read the full thing. More evidence of how much Roberto is respected in the game, not just at Everton.

Interesting stats in the article. This season average possession per game has risen, as have passes per game, passing accuracy and number of dribbles attempted.

Also fewer shots per game and fewer passes in the attacking third than last season. And fewer goals conceded per game on average and more clean sheets.

Brent Stephens
142 Posted 05/04/2014 at 10:33:04
Jeez, I can't even spell Grauniad properly!
Trevor Lynes
144 Posted 05/04/2014 at 10:37:23
Excellent forward thinking and a way of extending a player's career. Baines and McCarthy in midfield is a mouth-watering combination. Stones is much better suited to central defence as he is excellent in the air, has height, and is strong enough to be able to compete with big, mobile strikers. Barry is still useful but at his age he needs a rotation system to enable him to maintain quality in his play.

At last, we are doing something to lower the overall age of the side with Barkley, Oviedo, Stones and Deulofeu emerging. If we can keep Lukaku, he will only improve as he is still a kid.

I would love us to keep Martinez as manager: he is a very positive, flexible thinker with good ideas. Unfortunately, if he is successful, he may well be tempted away if he is not financially supported. Dave Whelan would have kept him at Wigan even though they got relegated and Mr Whelan knows a good man when he sees him.

Raymond Fox
146 Posted 05/04/2014 at 10:37:28
There's an article online on BBC sport - football about Roberto.
All positive of course.

Its becoming obvious why Dave Whelan was so full of praise for him, even saying that he was the best manager in the world.
Now that's a tall order I know, but Dave's not usually given to exaggeration & calls a spade a spade!

Adam Smith
158 Posted 05/04/2014 at 11:28:45
Now this is interesting!

Me and my brother are massive fans of the Bundesliga, being part German and all, and just three or four weeks ago we had a lengthy conversation over a coffee about Lahm's move to centre mid under Guardiola.

For years now, we have both been arguing amongst friends (and anyone else who would listen) that Lahm is hands down the best in the world in his natural position. Now my brother, having spent time there is also a big fan of the Spanish game and has a total love of Guardiola. He has every book under the sun on him and his methods and over the years I too have become a huge fan of his incredible ideas and methods. One of the things that has consistently been apparent over the years is his incredible vision, so naturally when we met up, his decision to move Lahm took up a lot of the conversation (other than when we were talking about our beloved Blues).

After a while, I put a question to my brother, that I had been mulling over to myself all season when watching Bayern - do you not think Bainesy could do that role for us? I pointed out that, as much as I love Baines, we have genuinely looked more dangerous with Oviedo at left back - his pace and style seems better suited to Martinez' system. The answer was a resounding 'yes' and he told me that he had been mulling over the same thought.

We talked about how Baines' passing is superb, as is his movement, he is good at positioning himself between the opposition and a dangerous area, and whilst his tackling isn't amazing, it is solid. He also has decent pace. I walked away from the meet up dreaming that Martinez (undoubtedly a man with incredible Pep style vision) may consider the idea in the future. This is great to see! COYB!

Aidy Dews
159 Posted 05/04/2014 at 11:06:43
Some good points there, Adam Carey (#128). I think Baines could play deep in midfield easily tbh. He's got good feet and can play a bit, and we've seen over the years he can give and go with players, and he's certainly got the engine to get about the pitch as well... but what he also as in his locker is his long-range shooting. I remember him a couple of times for Wigan back in the day belting some beauties in from distance.

I also think this is a move by Martinez to gradually bring Oviedo into the left-back spot as well to eventually take over from Baines. Baines isn't getting any younger and in time won't have the legs to keep on marauding up & down the left but will have the legs and energy to get about our own half as a defensive midfielder and drop into the LB position to cover Oviedo when he bombs on — who better to cover him than a natural LB?

This move could turn out to be a masterstroke by Bobby.

Sam Hoare
163 Posted 05/04/2014 at 12:07:22
Not sure bout this. Would not say reading the game is one of Baines' best attributes; for me that would be his movement in final 3rd and his crossing. Two qualities that would be quite redundant in the defensive midfielder role.

Having said that I trust RM and he sees far more of Baines than I do so I'm sure there's something in it.

Brent Stephens
164 Posted 05/04/2014 at 12:16:14
Sam, I know stats don't tell the whole story, but up to January -ish his stats for successful crosses was only 17% (not sure what they read like since then). That's surprising in a sense when you consider how accurate he is at penalties.

Bit definitely agree about that movement in the final third!

Wayne Smyth
166 Posted 05/04/2014 at 12:25:38
Not sure if it will work out though; I agree with James Wong that we ideally need someone two-footed there.

That said, its nice to see our boss thinking in this flexible way and the only way to truly decide is to give Baines a run there to see. Don't forget that Barry started out as a LB and has now become a quality defensive mid, so perhaps its not so unlikely to work.

Certainly it is the case that Baines form has declined this season. I wondered if it was to do with uncertainty over the Utd move, but he hasn't improved since he decided to stay. I think on pre-injury form basis I'd prefer Oviedo at LB.

Harold Matthews
170 Posted 05/04/2014 at 13:43:46
Martinez turned a Swansea winger into a real good DM.
Paul Gladwell
175 Posted 05/04/2014 at 14:15:46
I would totally disagree with the two footed shout, cast your mind back to the title in 87, the team was not as good as the 85 team mainly due to injuries, however there was a period that started before Xmas which saw us put Sheedy centre mid and the football we played during that period was better than the stuff the 85 team played, Sheedy ran the show, spraying balls everywhere and scoring some absolute screamers in the process, something I think Baines could have in his locker too.
David Price
176 Posted 05/04/2014 at 14:14:10
Innovation at it's best. How special must Baines feel now? Quality from Roberto.
After watching Utd against Bayern I think Moyes took Fellaini to Sunderland the previous Monday to watch Andy Carroll bulldoze his way through a game.
Robbie Muldoon
177 Posted 05/04/2014 at 14:22:50
Who wanted Vi­tor Pereira or that German we had never heard of ahead of our Roberto Martinez!? Come on, own up!
Phil Walling
178 Posted 05/04/2014 at 14:24:15
A belated April Fools gag!

Perhaps next year he could transform Seamus into another Bale and solve all BK's problems by selling him for £100M!

Total bullshit!

Kevin Tully
181 Posted 05/04/2014 at 14:40:09
We don't really play a crossing game anymore – so yes!
Neil McCloskey
183 Posted 05/04/2014 at 14:43:10
What a stupid post 178.

This is certainly worth exploring in the future. I'm certain that Bainesy would have a positive impact on the team in that role, and will certainly get the odd shooting opportunity as well.

John Gilfoyle
187 Posted 05/04/2014 at 15:32:44
Could be an option. With Oviedo good enough for a first team spot, I think it could be a great move for next season. I remember sitting in the lower bullens near the front and watching Baines close up in the flesh, Great brain, makes excellent runs and technically superb. I think he could be an upgrade on Barry to be honest, more legs and attacking threat thats for sure. Baines is considered one of our best players and could shine in a more prominent position.
Jackie Barry
189 Posted 05/04/2014 at 15:57:22
This almost sounds beautiful, in fact it is.
John Pickles
190 Posted 05/04/2014 at 16:03:30
Kenwright's probably told RM that he's not paying Barry's wages next year and to fill the slot internally and as we have Oviedo doing a good job at LB.....
Steve Short
196 Posted 05/04/2014 at 17:23:41
Always thought Lahm was an overrated footballer. I can see Oviedo in that role, but Baines? Not so much.
Kevin Day
198 Posted 05/04/2014 at 17:21:23
Phil Walling;

I first read your post before reading who actually posted it, I thought is this guy for real? Then I saw your name next to it.

Robbin Muldoon,

Yes I'll own up, I was all for Vitor, I'm so glad I was soooo wrong.

Brian Swift
200 Posted 05/04/2014 at 17:35:32
Needs to get his right foot, to the same level as his left. Then, he can make this position his own.
Tony Draper
201 Posted 05/04/2014 at 17:11:01
What I do like is that Roberto continually thinks creatively and whether he carries this through, or not, is a matter for opposition managers & players to worry over

It also compliments Bainsey as a senior professional (at 29, and I'd say a bloody young 29), viewing him as both a talented AND future pro
(it does coincidentally hint that if Barry decides to say "thanks but no thanks" we ain't we should have Gibbo back next season)

Bainsey is frequently portrayed as a "Gentleman Footballer", an understated type, but FFS.....he does give it some verbals when he isn't happy !
And he's ALWAYS in the right.....maybe defensive mid could not only suit LB's talents but his attitude too ?
Rather a positive and neat way of RM "complimenting & reminding" Jags that even as Captain others can step up................... (just a thort)

Nice to see that the resident "Mr Under-Bridge" disapproves, that for me is a certain sign of approval
Go play with Billy, the 3rd Goat of the brothers Gruff !

David Holroyd
203 Posted 05/04/2014 at 18:00:25
Seems to me to be a good idea. Baines is the fittest player and can go on for four or five seasons,and using them together should work well. Good to see Martinez thinking long term,because we cannot get any investment worth mentioning. I believe we have to make the most of Martinez cos you can see clubs with more money calling in the not too distant future.
Brent Stephens
204 Posted 05/04/2014 at 18:09:57
Brian Swift #200 "Needs to get his right foot, to the same level as his left."

You make him sign like Limp Along Leslie - anybody remember him?!

Wayne Smyth
206 Posted 05/04/2014 at 18:19:22
Just think Phil (178), if we got Baines playing as a defensive mid, it'd be like a new signing.... and then you could say Martinez has signed another Wigan player. Just think of the fun you could have.

You tit.

Paul Gladwell
207 Posted 05/04/2014 at 18:22:30
Great article by McNulty too on BBC website with Kilbane, all these ideas he has, night training to give players extra rest after games etc.

It's still early days, but I worry we won't have this fella long, let's hope we can move up a level both on and off the pitch.

Colin Glassar
209 Posted 05/04/2014 at 18:27:52
Not only the great ideas Paul #207 but the whole set-up behind the scenes, eg, Finch Farm, the trips to La Masia with the youth coaches, the whole psychology thing....

I think he’s brilliant.

Sam Jennings
211 Posted 05/04/2014 at 18:30:16
Haha Wayne 206, exactly what I was thinking
Harold Matthews
214 Posted 05/04/2014 at 18:27:01
Barry certainly needs a back-up. One more yellow plus the City auto-ban would total 6 missed games and a whole lotta money down the drain. A whole lotta points down the drain too.
Phil Sammon
219 Posted 05/04/2014 at 18:57:45
6 missed games. How is that a load of money down the drain? I bet there aren't many players that have played more minutes for us than Barry.
Peter Mills
220 Posted 05/04/2014 at 18:51:22
Paul #175- Couldn't agree more, the one footed Kevin Sheedy orchestrated one of the finest spells of football I've ever seen at Goodison, late 1986.

Brent #204, Limp Along was second only to the immortal Roy Race!

Brent Stephens
221 Posted 05/04/2014 at 19:07:45
Peter, Limp Along Leslie was second only to Roy Race?! Did you actually go to any of his games (as they say)?!
Peter Mills
226 Posted 05/04/2014 at 19:12:06
Roy was the complete player, I was being kind to Limp Along......,
David Chait
228 Posted 05/04/2014 at 19:12:40
If it means Oviedo is first choice left back I support it! We have missed his all round contribution!
Harold Matthews
253 Posted 05/04/2014 at 22:16:02
Phil. I understand where you're coming from'. He has been terrific in midfield and I'm a big fan. He also annoys me. Most of his fouls are completely needless, including one or two which allowed the opposition to score from the resultant dead-ball situation. I won't go into his wages because we don't know how much we're giving him, but it won't be chicken feed.
Drew O'Neall
256 Posted 05/04/2014 at 23:07:34
I don't see Baines as a CDM and I disagree with RM's assertion that he's good in one v one situations.

He generally uses the dimensions of the pitch to avoid headers and tackling which is an option at full back (a sensible one too) but there is no hiding place from high balls and shoulder to shoulder in the middle of the pitch.

Christopher Kelly
257 Posted 05/04/2014 at 22:52:24
Stones for me has to develop into a ball playing center half as was Mentioned earlier. The transition of getting the ball from defense to offense has to start smoothly and Stones is the man for that job. They don't come around very often. Alcaraz (or "Alcatraz" as my mobile autotyped it) was supposed to be that player, from what little I've seen, I like how we play with a real libero
Stephen Edwards
273 Posted 05/04/2014 at 23:46:50
Martinez, for me, shares the same football philosophy as Guardiola. What was great about the Man Utd v Bayern game on Tuesday was that we are more like Bayern, under Martinez, than the 'new' Man Utd, under Moyes.

I remember reading an article, when Guardiola was still at Barcelona, which detailed his opinion on the future of football – guided by his mentor, Johan Cruyff. His opinion was that teams would consist of 1 defender and the remaining 9 outfield players being midfielders, ie, football, in the future, would be a game won in the centre of the pitch with the emphasis being on the majority of players asked to both defend and attack, five-a-side style, I suppose.

Toure and Mascherano playing centre half, in his Barcelona days, and Lahm playing a more central position, in this Bayern team, is a clue as to what is to come at the cutting edge of top level football. A proper football revolution it appears; as long as Guardiola continues to be successful. As far as Everton are concerned, this style of football Martinez has introduced will certainly put us in a strong position when facing the big boys – fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Long story short, I believe this comment by Martí­nez underlines his commitment to the Catalonian footballing philosophy, good or bad.

Robin Hunuki
287 Posted 06/04/2014 at 03:13:40
+1 for Baines to move to CDM.

I'm down for this transition, if it were to bring Oviedo back in the team with Garbutt on the bench. I have always thought that Baines was restricted running up and down the left hand side of the pitch. The blokes got an engine and as well can distribute well. Let's have a look at how he goes at CDM. We also have Gibson to come back into the team too so it would be Barry (if signed), Gibson, McCarthy.

@James Wong (137), surely you're wrong. I swear we've seen him hit one with his 'weak' foot.. I cannot recall the game but that right leg was solid!

If all else fails then we'll switch back, nothing wrong with trying something.. Don't be surprised to see this during preseason..

Albert Perkins
289 Posted 06/04/2014 at 04:21:53
With Baines more central and further up the field we could take advantage of his forward passing skills. His 20 to 30 yard forward passes are usually incisive. This is the area we need to improve on, that final defense-splitting ball. And if he was more around the edge of the box he would have more opportunities to shoot from 20 to 25 yards. This would give defenders more to think about as they dive in to stop him shooting and he can do his one-twos etc.

Roberto is always thinking and freshening things up. If we get 5 years before Barcelona come to call we will be lucky. And if he helps choose his successor, we could still get the magical loanees.

Derek Thomas
302 Posted 06/04/2014 at 07:04:02
Contrast; OFM,TGT...Baines is the 2nd best left back in the Country...RM; you can do this, and this and this and be even better at doing this.
Anthony Lewis
321 Posted 06/04/2014 at 10:11:35
This is quite an unexpected shout from Boberto. Scary thing is though, I actually trust him to make the right decisions as opposed to, if this came from OFM, I would likely be fuming.

Roberto can fit square pegs in round holes

Clive Lewis
335 Posted 06/04/2014 at 11:30:14
Cheap way of making up the midfield numbers with the possibility of Barry leaving.... Bill does it again!
Lordy Hughes
340 Posted 06/04/2014 at 11:33:05
Bollox to Clive's comment at #335
Graham Reed
371 Posted 06/04/2014 at 13:06:04
Much as I admire Martinez's philosophy and Lahm and Baines as players, I was really surprised at this idea. I think of Lahm as a possession type full-back, always available in support and always able to keep the ball moving usually with the simplest of passes, while I see Baines as a wide attacking full-back, using pace and great crossing ability. So Lahm moving to a Xavi type role seemed natural, while I would expect any move forward by Baines to be along the lines of what Bale did initially , ie as a wide midfield player.
Trevor Lynes
505 Posted 06/04/2014 at 20:36:23
Baines had a fantastic game today and if he was inspired by watching Lahm in the company of Martinez then I for one am satisfied.

Baines is super fit and has great dedication. His control and vision is the best in the league in his position. I can well see him playing further forward in front of Oviedo.

At present Pienaar fills the role but it is great that plans are made to cover that position when required. We need similar plans to cover for Barry on a rotation system for next season if Barry joins us.

Dennis Ng
576 Posted 06/04/2014 at 23:05:50
I really wanted to say 'I told you so' but just happy that RM agreed with that sentiment. That Coleman move on Carzola, can I say he can be trained into a winger? Given our small squad, positional flexibility definitely helps and can see more of that happening as we try to find the best bodies to add within our limited funds from the market or youth academy.

Phil, Harold, regardless of where this transition is at, Barry is too important to miss any games at the moment. We need all the experienced bodies we can get on the starting 11 to try to win out.

Jason Lam
624 Posted 07/04/2014 at 07:02:25
On Sunday Mirallas was playing left-back at times; this is all so confusing – think how Wenger must've felt!
Tony Abrahams
655 Posted 07/04/2014 at 11:49:48
Absolute perfect man-management off our great young manager who seems to have football in his every pore. Baines was magnificent against Arsenal, easily his best performance this season.

What do you think he was saying to Arteta? That Roberto is the best little Spaniard we know!

Mike Keating
771 Posted 07/04/2014 at 20:37:26
Sorry Brent @ 221 but you are talking utter bollocks.
Roy Race was a manicured twat and not fit to lace the boots of Dozy Danny Lorimer, Hot Shot Hamish or even Alf Tupper. I would even go so far as to place Billy Dane and Billy Binns ahead of Roy of the bleeding Rovers and they relied on magic.
If yer know yer 'Istory etc etc
Mike Keating
772 Posted 07/04/2014 at 22:45:04
Sorry Brent
I meant Peter @ 220
Brian Foley
777 Posted 07/04/2014 at 23:45:18

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