Kevin Phillips hailed the decision to keep Leighton Baines at Everton in a coaching capacity and insisted that it was a “no brainer” for the club.
The former Sunderland and West Brom striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed that young players will listen to the 35-year-old given his wealth of experience at the top level.
The Toffees confirmed last week that Baines would becomes the club’s first Professional Development Coach following his retirement in the summer.
He will work with young first-team players, as well as the Under-23s and Under-18s at Finch Farm.
Baines made 420 appearances for the Merseyside club over a 13-year spell at Goodison Park and scored an impressive 32 goals from left-back.
When asked by Football Insider for his reaction to the appointment, Phillips said: “That is the right decision all day long. When those sort of players retire you have to keep them at your football club. He is Everton through and through.
“If I am a young player coming through the academy I would listen to Leighton Baines. It will be a learning curve for him and mistakes will be made along the way.
“I would rather learn off of him then someone who has all of the qualifications but has never kicked a ball before. It is a no brainer for the club.”
When speaking on the appointment, Director of Football, Marcel Brands, said: “We are all committed to developing the very best local talent and are determined to maintain our position as one of the best player development programmes in football.
“Adding Leighton and his knowledge into that structure will be very valuable to us. He is taking up a new and important role which he has helped design based on his recent perspective and tremendous experience as a player.”
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