Belfast Telegraph

Baines confident for new campaign

Defender Leighton Baines feels Everton's preparations for the new season are well on track.

The Merseysiders continued their impressive and unbeaten pre-season campaign with a 2-0 win over Everton - their Chilean namesakes - in a friendly at Goodison Park on Wednesday night. The Toffees made a poor start last year, losing 6-1 to Arsenal on day one and then collecting just 15 points in 14 games, but Baines feels more positive this time around.

The England international said: "The games and the training have gone well so far. The important thing now is that we try to keep everyone fit and get ready to start the season as well as we have done in pre-season."

He added: "As the games come along you get a bit sharper and everyone has looked sharp in all the games.

"Everyone wants to go into the first game on a high note so it is important we end this pre-season well.

"We all know last season that we had a poor result in the first game, one of the worst we could have imagined.

"It is important, psychologically, to start well - but it is one game and there is plenty of time to recover."

Baines has been impressed with the performances of new signing Jermaine Beckford this summer. The 26-year-old striker is stepping up to the top flight after excelling at League One level with Leeds. Beckford followed up his double against Preston last month with his first goal at Goodison as he headed the opener against Chile's Everton.

Baines added: "It looks like he knows how to score. He is one of those people that have a knack for finishing.

"He looked sharp and he also offers a threat behind. He looks like he is going to be a good addition to the squad."

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