Everton's Leighton Baines hoping for summer return from surgery

Leighton Baines

The 30-year-old England left-back had ankle surgery two weeks ago but has set a date for his return to training in readiness for the 2015-16 season.

It hasn't been evident in his performances, but Everton's star player has managed to play through the pain barrier for some time, having carried an ankle injury for three years. But after 41 games played last season, Baines and Everton agreed that he should sit out the last two games of the Barclays Premier League campaign to undergo surgery and get a head-start on his recovery.

Baines has been Everton's most consistent performer over recent seasons, which highlights both his value to Roberto Martinez's side and his ability to perform while carrying an ankle injury. 

But the left-back spoke to the Liverpool Echo about his recent surgery and when he is expected to return for pre-season training: “I’m progressing day by day but I’m still wearing the boot so I can’t do much,” Baines said.

“I’m just working on getting the ankle moving again and getting the swelling down. It was the right time to get the operation done because if I had waited until the end of the season I would have been touch-and-go for the start of the [new] season. It gives me time to get the things done during the summer to get up to speed and hopefully join in with the lads towards the end of pre-season.”

A July return for Baines may mean he is not quite at full speed for the start of the 2015-16 season, and in his recent absence for games against West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur, Everton have discovered they have some options.

Regular deputy left-back is youngster Luke Garbutt, but the ex-Leeds United trainee is out of contract and potentially moving elsewhere, with offers from Swansea and AFC Bournemouth believed to be on the table for the 22-year-old.

For the final two games Everton deployed 19-year-old Brendan Galloway at left back, and also have Costa Rican defender Bryan Oviedo in reserve to play in the left full-back berth.

But Baines remains Everton's first choice left-back and Roberto Martinez will have his fingers crossed that the club has timed the surgery correctly, to minimise the impact on what will be a crucial season for the Toffees

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch