By 90Min
February 07, 2018

Everton defender Leighton Baines has revealed what is keeping his spirits up as he recovers from a calf injury suffered earlier in the season.

The England international picked up his injury in a 4-1 defeat to Southampton on 26 November, while caretaker manager David Unsworth was in charge.

Baines has told the Liverpool Echo that having to impress new manager Sam Allardyce - plus his coaches Sammy Lee and Craig Shakespeare - is spurring him on as he makes his comeback.

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"There is a new manager to impress and I haven't had the opportunity to train under him or be a part of that at all since he came in, so it's always nice in some respects that you've got that little bit more to prove that he doesn't know you.

“Hopefully I can get back into training and when I do get back I'll be in reasonable enough shape to do myself justice.”

Being injured can be a difficult time for players, as they sit in the physio room and watch out of the window as their teammates walk out on to the training pitch. For Baines, though, he says that he always finds it an 'interesting' time.

“When you're injured it is a bit solid. You're in and around the place but you're on a different schedule.

“Sometimes you're in when everyone else is off or your day off might be when everyone else is in. That's the way it works," explained the 33-year-old.

“Your focus is on getting back fit so it's always an interesting time I find. Your focus is so much on football when you're playing and I live my life around football.

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“When you haven't got games it's not as necessary to go from a training session to a match.

“It changes the structure of your life a bit and it's interesting.”

It's not just the physical recovery that's important, as Baines explains that mindset and diet are also big factors in his life as he recovers from an injury.

“Automatically my mindset shifts into how I would live my life when I'm playing because the workload is big and I've got to recover from the sessions.

“My diet is always important, particularly when you are out injured and you can't train you've got to pay close attention to that.

“Whether it's muscle memory or not I'm reverting to what I've known for the past 15 years or so.”

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