Leighton Baines flattered by Manchester United link

 

England full-back Leighton Baines insists he is focused on Euro 2012 rather than his own future.

Everton left-back Baines heads into the tournament with Manchester United being strongly linked with a move for his services this summer.

Baines has had another fine season at Goodison Park and is flattered by the speculation but is adamant all his thoughts are on helping England in Poland and Ukraine.

He said: "The United link is flattering. There is no harm in people talking about it because it is a great club.

"But I'm at a great club as well, a club that I love. The focus now is all on the tournament. There's not much time to let other things seep in.

"It's about getting your head on this job for the next six weeks and try to do the best you can.

"I'm not letting my focus shift to [my future] while I am in camp. I'm focused on what I'm doing at the moment."

Asked if it would be hard to leave Everton, he added: "Yes, obviously. You know what it means. I've been there for five years myself but also know first-hand what it means to a lot of people."

Baines admits he takes inspiration from fellow left-back Ashley Cole even though his presence in the England side during the past decade has denied him the opportunity to win many more caps.

He said: "Ash has always has been an inspiration. In my position, he has always been my favourite player from when I was a young lad.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.

"Before I was making my way myself in the game, then it was Roberto Carlos, who was doing the free-kicks and all that stuff.

"But, once you start to look at things as a proper player, then Ash has always been a good role model for any player in that position, whether you be 17 or 18 establishing yourself or late 20s, he is the best.

"There is always something to learn and you never stop looking for things.

"It's not just Ash I look at. It's every player in my position who is at the top of their game. You are always looking at what they are doing and pick up their strengths and learn from that."

PA

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