Baines hails midfield strength

first_imgEverton defender Leighton Baines believes having the strongest midfield he has seen during his time at the club bodes well for the future. “We’ve been working on different things and people have begun to enjoy watching some of them. “We’ve just got to tighten up the other aspects and keep developing.” Baines told the Liverpool Echo: “We’ve still got things we need to improve on. We gave the ball away too quickly high up the pitch to allow us to get any momentum. “So every time we started to creep forward we’d lose it and that’d one of the things we’re working on improving; being better in possession in the opposition’s half. It’s about sustaining attacks. “Not doing it against City meant we kept ending up on the back foot again and susceptible to the counter-attack. “We shouldn’t have to just reflect on it afterwards. The next step tactically is to show that awareness during a game and say ‘Okay, we’ve seen what you’re doing,’ and then change, but we didn’t. “Now we want to come back from the international break and get back to winning ways.” The 28-year-old is in his seventh season at Goodison Park and thinks the options available to Roberto Martinez are the best during that spell. Summer arrivals Gareth Barry, on loan from Manchester City, and James McCarthy, a £13million signing from Wigan, have increased competition in central midfield and the return from injury of Darron Gibson in Saturday’s defeat at Manchester City has added to that. Press Association “It is great to see someone of Gibbo’s quality back, it just adds to the strength we have in the squad – there is plenty of competition for those places in midfield especially,” said Baines. “That is great for the manager and it gives him the opportunity to rotate sometimes and that is only going to help us.” Asked whether it was the strongest Toffees midfield he had played alongside, he added on evertontv: “From what I can remember it is, just because of the quality we have and there are a lot of players fighting for places. “We have Steven (Pienaar) to come back (from injury) so if we have everyone back fit we will have a really good squad and the manager has some decisions to make.” While Everton may have lost their unbeaten record at the weekend, they have enjoyed a good start to the season as the squad have embraced the change in style brought by the new boss. Many predicted a dip in fortunes because of the readjustment period required after Martinez succeeded David Moyes but there has been no evidence of that so far. “It’s a work in progress but we’re working towards being a much better team,” added Baines. “I’m enjoying that aspect of it. I’m learning and hopefully we will continue to build on what we’ve started. last_img read more

DURO’S RUSSIA NOTES…

first_imgNAIJA FOODSTrust our compatriots when it comes to making fast money. With most Nigerian visitors here trying to cope with the arrays of Russian dishes on offer here, some smart ones resident here are making a kill from selling our local delicacies. One guy from south of the Niger, is offering Nigerian foods for what is clearly exorbitant price of over 600 Rubles (about N6,200) per serving of a plate of Semovita and beef  or chicken egusi soup. Those who desperately desire the stuff are going for them while those who can manage are eating the Russian meals. Don’t ask me what I am eating….AFRICAN SOLIDARITYAfter Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria lost their first matches of the ongoing World Cup here in Russia, most Africans here appear to be their brother’s keepers, sharing emotions together. Everywhere you turn, you hear some folks asking you if you are from Africa. “ We are from Egypt, Sad Mohamed Salah is not our team that lost to Urugauay. Sad, Nigeria and Morocco also lost. Don’t worry, we can get better in subsequent matches” observed an Egyptian who identified himself simply as Abdel.  He is here with his beautiful wife and son. The kid has an Egyptian flag with Salah’s image engraved on half of the coat of arms.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram NAIRA DEBIT CARD MESSAll around the world, Nigerians have the reputation of paying cash for most of their transactions. The introduction of debit/credit cards by most Nigerian banks has hardly changed that attitude of carrying cash around. Although the fear of losing such funds to thieves has sort of reduced that attitude.Here at the World Cup in Russsia those who are stuck to the old habit of cash in the pockets and not on the cards, are smiling, enjoying all that the Russians are offering. At the MacDonald’s, just ten minutes walk from the hotels where most of us are resident in Pribaltiyskaya area of St Petersburg, some Nigerians who wanted to spend from their Naira debit cards got the shock of their lives. After picking food and groceries, the attendant teller asked for money, they claimed not to have the Russian Rubles. One brought out his debit cards from two of the old generation banks with horse and elephants as logos. The POS declined. Several attempts yielded no result. With those on the queue becoming inpatient, yours sincerely tapped the shoulder of the guy with the cards and told him Naira cards no longer work outside the country with the new CBN policies. Of course, they dropped the groceries but had to borrow Russian Rubles to pay for the food. They were lucky got bailed out otherwise would have been hard way to learn…last_img read more