England 2 Poland 0: Leighton Baines pleased with individual performance and admits relief at qualifying for 2014 World Cup
The left-back played every minute of the crucial wins over Montenegro and Ukraine and is definitely putting his hand up to oust England regular Ashley Cole in defence
Wednesday 16 October 2013
Leighton Baines is pleased with his contribution to England's successful bid to qualify for next summer's World Cup.
The Everton left-back impressed in England's last two Group H victories in the absence of the injured Ashley Cole.
Baines supplied the cross which Wayne Rooney converted before half-time to ease the pressure building around Wembley during Tuesday night's match against Poland.
Captain Steven Gerrard doubled the advantage in the second half as Roy Hodgson's men made sure of their place in the finals with a 2-0 win.
Baines said: "It was a tough game. We knew it wouldn't be easy but it's great to have got over the line and now we can look forward to the World Cup.
"There are the usual cliches of 'it's about the team' - but they're very true.
"But if I reflect on my own performances, I've got to be pleased."
On Tuesday night's struggles for the breakthrough, the 28-year-old continued on thefa.com: "We were creating a lot of chances and you start to, not become anxious, but you want to see one go in sooner rather than later.
"Thankfully I put the ball in and Wayne's great in the air and produced a really good header.
"We created plenty more chances, especially in the first half and would have warranted another goal or two probably, with Poland looking to catch us on the break.
"We didn't start the second the way we would have liked but we dug in and the goal at the end eased the nerves and saw us through.
"There are a lot of different emotions and relief is definitely one of those. We just wanted to get the job done - and we did.
"Everyone's over the moon, we go away now and enjoy this win to a certain extent, but we've all got big games for our clubs now.
"I'm sure at the weekend when everyone has played the games they can put their feet up and let everything soak in."
On the finals, he joked: "I'm available, if invited!
"A lot can happen between now and then. We've got a few games to come back here and play in - they'll be great.
"But we start our preparation and can look forward to getting out there. It's very special to play in a World Cup, to be in Brazil. Everyone's fighting for their place."
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