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Leighton Baines exit is a headache Everton could do without

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I think it's vital that Everton keep Leighton Baines for another year.

I've spoken about this situation before in my column, I love that competition he has with Lucas Digne. We didn't know how quick he was going to settle and it was important to have Leighton there.

Digne is a fantastic left back and we want players all over the pitch who will have the technical ability to push each other for a place in the starting 11, and that's what we have in that position.

It's great that Baines is staying until the end of the season and fingers crossed he will sign on the dotted line for another year, because I feel that position is comfortable for us moving forward. I want Marcel Brands to be able to target areas we're not as strong in.

You'd like to think he wants to stay at Carlo Ancelotti, but he's probably getting to an age where he wants to play, like we all would. I'd understand if he'd want to go elsewhere for guaranteed minutes.

That's difficult for Ancelotti and the club to offer, because obviously Lucas Digne is a fantastic player. The manager will want that fight and competition all over the pitch, not just at left back.

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We don't want another headache if Leighton doesn't sign, another place we have to bring a player in.

That's between the club and a player to come to terms with. It's a difficult one, Baines has been fantastic since he's come to the club and I'd certainly like to see him sign for another year while our recruitment staff look at other positions.

Leighton's experience at the club could be key in the future too. He came here as a young lad and it took him a little while to break into the starting 11 fully, before he found that fantastic partnership with Steven Pienaar.

He understands what it is to pull on that blue shirt, and for the young players the club have got coming through a voice like Leighton there is key.

For those youngsters to have Baines and Seamus Coleman in and around the dressing room is important. You look at Vincent Kompany with Man City, last season he didn't play a lot but his influence around the training ground is to keep the standard high.

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It's only going to help to have the mixture of youth and senior pros.

It reminds me of when I was breaking through. I had Dave Watson who was a great help to me and then when Richard Gough came to the club he understood how to look after yourself, and that added to me personally.

You see these players who have had the experience of fantastic careers and as a young professional you take all of that on board and soak it all in.

That's why I feel it's important to have Coleman and Baines around the club.

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