Leighton Baines

Ones To Watch: Everton

by Ashley Houghton

We look at three of the Toffees' top men.

Leighton Baines

England international Leighton Baines is the key man in Everton’s push for a UEFA Champions League spot this season.

Baines’ set-piece delivery is lauded across the Barclays Premier League and with the height in the Toffees squad it’s become an essential part of their game.

The 28-year-old joined Everton after spending five years at Wigan Athletic, where he came through the youth ranks, and made 162 appearances as the Latics won promotion to the Barclays Premier League.

Since joining Everton, Baines’ form has earned him widespread recognition; he picked up both the Players’ Player and Player of the Season awards in the 2010/11 campaign.

Baines has been capped 15 times by England after making his debut in a friendly with Egypt in 2010.

Kevin Mirallas

Everton’s latest hero is Belgian winger Kevin Mirallas who joined the Toffees in the summer of 2012 from Greek club Olympiakos.

Mirallas came through the youth ranks with his boyhood club Standard Liege before moving to French giants Lille in 2004.

The Belgian international spent four years with Lille before moving to Saint-Etienne where he played 69 times before moving to Greece.

It was Mirallas’ form for Olympiakos that caught the eye of some of Europe’s elite – he scored 34 times in 67 games in a more advanced role prompting Everton to bid for his services.

He joined the Toffees in August 2012 and has made an instant impact; scoring seven times in 27 appearances.

Leon Osman

On Merseyside, they say Leon Osman’s blood is blue; having progressed through the youth ranks with the Toffees; Osman has gone on to make 341 appearances in his 13 years at Goodison Park.

Osman made his debut for Everton in 2004; after signing his first professional deal with the club in 2000, he found first-team opportunities limited, and went out on loan to Carlisle United and then Derby County.

Since returning, Osman has been integral in the Toffees' success under David Moyes – he scored his 50th goal for the club with an impressive strike as Everton defeated Manchester City at Goodison Park in March 2013.

He made his England debut, after a run of fine form for Everton, in 2012 as the Three Lions went down 4-2 to Sweden.

He also featured as England hammered San Marino 8-0 in March.