Leighton Baines hails irregular Everton defensive pair for displays against Bournemouth

The Toffees left-back praised the attitude and reliability of veteran right-back Tony Hibbert and admitted he was impressed with Matthew Pennington.

Everton left-back Leighton Baines has hailed the club's defensive pair of Tony Hibbert and Matthew Pennington after they put in solid performances in the 2-1 win over Bournemouth this weekend, whilst speaking to the club website.

Toffees stalwart Hibbert made his first appearance since December 2014 by coming on for Muhamed Besic at half-time at Goodison Park, meaning that he has now played in 16 consecutive Premier League seasons for the Merseysiders.

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Pennington made his Premier League debut at centre-back as Roberto Martinez turned to the youngster in the absences of Phil Jagielka and Ramiro Funes Mori through injury and suspension respectively.

Baines admitted he was delighted to see Hibbert return to action after such a long spell on the sidelines and also told the club's official website that he was mightily impressed with the mature display from Pennington.

The England international said: "Hibbo did great – it looked like he had never been out. It does feel good when you have had a spell out, especially as long as Hibbo has been out. He has been working really hard all the time.

"Hibbo is, as he has always been, so dependable. He came on and some of his positional play was outstanding. He is a guy you can always turn to at any time and trust him. I think the crowd were trying to suck a shot in from him! It was great to see him back out on the pitch and I thought he did really well.

"I thought Matty was brilliant. There were times when Matty had to defend and he has done so really well. He was calm and composed on the ball as well. All in all, it was a brilliant Premier League debut."

The defensive pair helped Martinez's side secure their first league win since 1 March, but it will do little to ease the pressure on the Spanish boss as the club face up to what is likely to end up as a second consecutive season in the bottom half of the table.

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