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Sunday, September 23, 2012
ESPNsoccernet: September 24, 10:23 AM UK
Baines hails Everton's quality

Mike Whalley

Leighton Baines has said that Everton's current side is as good as any he has ever played in.

David Moyes' team are fifth in the Premier League after collecting ten points from their opening five matches, and Baines played his part in a convincing 3-0 victory at Swansea.

Goals from Victor Anichebe, Kevin Mirallas and Marouane Fellaini secured the points, and the England left-back, who moved to Goodison Park from Wigan in 2007, believes the potential is there to sustain Everton's early promise.

He told the Daily Post: "I think this is as good an Everton side as I have played in. The last time we were at this level was when we went on to reach the FA Cup final in 2009.

"We had a really strong squad then. Then it got broken up after that and I think it is only now that we are back to that level.

"We are a good team, with good players sitting on the bench. That is going to be key as the season goes on.

"We have seen it when things have got a bit thin in terms of numbers and we have been forced to play young lads. Now we can call on experienced and seasoned professionals who would be playing in most teams. Victor's performance highlights that."

Everton's early form has raised the possibility of a top-four finish and Champions League football at Goodison Park.

They were fourth in 2005, going out of the following season's Champions League in a play-off against Villarreal, and have consistently been a top-eight side since Moyes took charge in 2002.

Baines said: "Our aim and target was to get a decent start, and I think we have just about done that now.

"It is about taking that up to Christmas and staying at the top end of the table because, over the years, we have always done well after Christmas. It's not a given, but we have given ourselves a decent chance."




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