Leighton John Baines /ˈleɪtən ˈbeɪnz/ (born 11 December 1984) is an English professional footballer who plays as a left-back for Premier League club Everton and the England national team.
Baines started his career with Wigan Athletic, and was part of the team that won the Second Division in the 2002–03 season and was a runner-up in the 2004–05 Championship and the 2006 League Cup Final. He joined Everton in 2007, helping them reach the 2009 FA Cup Final. He has played for England at under-21 and senior levels. Baines was included in the England squads at UEFA Euro 2012 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Baines made his debut for Wigan Athletic in 2002, and was a member of the team that won the Second Division in the 2002–03 season. He was a regular in the first team when Wigan earned promotion to the Premier League in 2004–05. That season saw Baines score his first goal for the club, a long-range shot against Ipswich Town.
Baines is believed to be a pessimist and often doubts his own footballing ability. When he secured promotion with Wigan, he doubted he was good enough to play in the Premier League: "We won promotion to the Premier League and, straight away, I was thinking, 'Where am I going to go now?' I should have been celebrating but I spent a large part of that summer worrying about what it would be like spending the next year on the bench and in the reserves."
Baines signed a new contract with Wigan in February 2005 despite being linked to a number of Premier League clubs, including Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton, and extended his contract again after impressive displays in his first season in the Premier League. Whilst at Wigan he started in the 2006 League Cup Final defeat to Manchester United.
Baines is described in his UEFA.com profile as a "dependable left back" who is "best known for his set-piece expertise and penalties". But in his early years, Baines played in midfield and attack; it was only when he started at Wigan that he began to play in the left back position. Roberto Martínez has planned to redeploy Baines as a midfielder, in a similar change to Philipp Lahm. Baines has stated that he would be "excited to give it a go".
Baines was born and raised in Kirkby, Merseyside. He began playing football at a local Liverpool primary school but, age 10, had trouble playing for a Sunday League team because he was shy. He has three children with his wife, Rachel. Baines is a close friend of musician Miles Kane, and is himself a keen guitarist.
Baines was educated at St Joseph The Worker Catholic Primary School and All Saints' RC High School in Kirkby.
In May 2014, on the eve of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Baines suffered personal tragedy when his 81-year-old grandmother Ann Baines died after falling down the stairs in her home. He subsequently dedicated his World Cup performances to her memory.
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