Everton left-back Leighton Baines is nearing his return to full fitness, and is excited about the prospect of working with Sam Allardyce.
The 33-year-old has been out of action since November 2017, when he suffered an injury in the Premier League defeat to Southampton.
Speaking to Everton’s official website, Baines stated that he is raring to go, and is looking forward to trying to impress the former England manager.
“There is a new manager to impress and I have not had the opportunity to train under him or be a part of it at all since he has come in.
“That’s always nice in some respects because you have that little bit more to prove as he doesn’t know you.”
The timing is perfect for Baines, as he will be eager to showcase his talent ahead of this year’s World Cup in Russia.
It is also beneficial to Allardyce, as the Toffees have struggled defensively this season, conceding the third highest ammount of goals in the Premier League with 45.
The England international’s high standard of defensive output will help Everton with that regard, and the added competition for matchday places will add pressure to perform in training.
Baines reveals that his lengthy career has helped him to cope with the pressures of being injured, which is something he struggled with during the early stages of his career.
“Earlier in my career it was harder to keep sprits up because it had never happened before and it was a new experience. Your life – everything – revolves around football.
“But over the course of time, and you have a few more injuries and you learn how to deal with it a bit better. You turn to your family.”
Everton fans will be happy to see the long time Toffee back in action, as he has solidified himself as a first team regular since arriving back in 2007.