Everton star tipped to be 'massive asset' to England's World Cup hopes

Roberto Martinez says Leighton Baines will be a 'massive asset' to England's World Cup hopes.

The Everton defender looks set to stake a claim in Roy Hodgson's line-up for this summer's finals in Brazil after the Three Lions boss warned Ashley Cole that he will no longer be an automatic starter since losing his place in the Chelsea's starting XI.

Earlier this week Hodgson told England centurion Cole that he will face stiff competition, with Southampton's Luke Shaw also set to vie for the left-back role, saying: "For years people have been understudy to Ashley. Now it's Ashley's turn to sit back."

Baines, meanwhile, continues to show great consistency at Goodison Park and recently penned a new contract to extend his stay with the Blues until summer 2018.

And Martinez today tipped the 29-year-old, who was the subject of strong interest from Manchester United last summer, to be a key component for Hodgson's side in Brazil.

He said: "Only the national team manager knows that. I think what's important is that Leighton has been enjoying a very consistent season so far, but the options for this England side are phenomenal.

"The pleasing aspect for English football is the amount of new, good youngsters and good players that are now performing important roles at club level, that are going to help in the national team.

"From our point of view, we've seen Leighton enjoying a very good season; a season that is going to get stronger in the final third with the stability of his new contract. For us, he's such an important player that I know now that he can do that for the national team.

"He's been through the experiences to be able to enjoy his football in the way that he does at Everton to do it with England, so he's a massive asset for English football."

image: © wonker

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