Leighton Baines Believes Everton Have 'Genuine Competition' in Every Department in the Squad
Everton have imposed themselves in the transfer window this summer and have acquired a number of top quality professionals to add more 'genuine competition' to the squad, competition which Leighton Baines believes will make the club a stronger all-round force.
The 32-year-old left back - speaking via the club's official website - claims that the Toffees have squad members on the bench who would undoubtedly feature in other Premier League outfits, and with starting places being up for grabs in various tournaments domestically and in Europe, the work ethic within the fold will presumably become one which is conducted on the pitch with a sense of determination, if an individual is to prove themselves to Ronald Koeman.
Baines scored the winning goal against Slovakian side Ružomberok in a 1-0 Europa League first-leg qualifier for the Merseysiders at Goodison Park on July 27th, but, despite his efforts so far, the England full-back understands Koeman's prerogative to rotate the squad to ease fatigue across the course of the imminent campaign.
“It felt good that (last week) was a competitive game – it felt like a proper game,” he said.
“It is a lot of football but I think we have prepared for that. The squad is a lot bigger. We have boys who didn’t make the squad last week who would get in other Premier League teams.
“We have lads out injured who would be first-team players. There is genuine competition for every position in the side.
“There will be times when there is rotation. It is the manager’s job to juggle that, and he has a staff to help him with it. We understand it as players - we have to prepare for it and know decisions are being made for the right reasons.
“If you are not being picked for a week or two, you have to use that time productively and say, ‘Okay, I am not featuring, maybe I have played a lot of games and really need to look after my body this week’.
“That is part of being a professional.”
The Blues have scooped the likes of Wayne Rooney, Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen and Sandro Ramirez most notably so far during the current transfer window, and with a month still to go in the period, Everton are only likely to bolster their ranks further as the window continues to unfurl.