Poor old Leighton Baines. Due to the fact the Scouse mod-rocker had the excellent Ashley Cole to battle with for most of his career, his talent wasn’t recognised at international level often enough.
Im a better left back than leighton baines
— Adrian (@ZOD1A) March 19, 2016
Baines doesn't have his mind on this game because all he can think about is the new Last Shadow Puppets album coming out in two weeks
— Tom Adams (@tomEurosport) March 19, 2016
30 England caps is a respectable tally no doubt, a haul which hundreds of hopefuls would envy, but perhaps not a fair reflection just how good the 31-year old was in his prime.
From Ashley Cole to Leighton Baines. What a demise that is. Luke Shaw needs to get fit soon!
— KTM. (@KMarsh1995) March 19, 2016
Leighton Baines is such a fraud of a footballer
— Chris (@ccooksley46) March 19, 2016
However, after a season marred by injury, it appears the former Wigan defender has succumbed to the foe that ultimately gets us all, Old Father Time.
I remember when people thought Leighton Baines was the best LB in the prem
— shqipelion (@AzGalica) March 19, 2016
Leighton Baines showing why he's not in the England squad
— Tom Sinnott (@TomSin23) March 19, 2016
Despite being one of the best operators in his position – one of the few left-backs who took his defensive duties as seriously as his attacking ones – Baines has no doubt dropped in form.
Wtf has happened to baines ?
— matt (@matthewclare3) March 19, 2016
Remember when Baines was one of the most creative players in Europe?
— John Whelan (@MEvertonians) March 19, 2016
Despite the England national side’s constant disappointment, few can doubt their strength at left-back. Not that it helps an awful lot, but still, we need something to cling on to.
Baines has been the biggest victim of that. Few could have displaced Cole, who has one of the best in the world, but the notion of replacing him in the role has almost utterly disappeared.
Luke Shaw will presumably be the long-term option going forward, while the likes of Ryan Bertrand, Danny Rose and Aaron Cresswell surely provide better options.
Caught between two times, Baines is unlikely to be given proper respect for just how good he was in his prime.