Everton taking it day by day with Baines return, says Martinez

The Blues boss says the challenge is to get their star man back fully fit before a first team return.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Everton manager Roberto Martinez says they are taking it day by day with Leighton Baines' injury return.

The defender is yet to feature for the Blues this season, having picked up an injury before the start of the season.

That ruled him out for the opening of the campaign, but he is now back in full training, and played for the Under 21 side in their loss to Porto on Sunday.

In his absence, youngster Brendan Galloway has starred in the side with a series of impressive performances that make a mockery of his relative inexperience.

And while Martinez is keen to have his first choice left back return to the side, he says they are taking it day by day with his return.

“He [Baines] needs to have a really good programme now and we need to assess day-by-day how he gets that confidence back," he told evertonfc.com.

"We need Leighton fully fit because when he's fit and enjoying his football he's probably one of the best left-backs in world football. The challenge now is to get Leighton back fully fit and we'll take it from there."

Given the important role Baines has enjoyed in the Blues side over the years, there must be a big desire to throw him straight back into the team.

They have looked solid without him in the team though, with youngster Brendan Galloway impressing in his absence.

It would be harsh to drop Galloway for Baines given how well he has performed, while it could also disrupt a side that has so far worked well together.

Not rushing him Baines back could also be to his benefit, as it would allow him to regain match fitness without any added pressure, despite how tempted Martinez may be to do the opposite.

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