Kevin Ratcliffe has labelled Leighton Baines as one of the best left-backs Everton have ever had as the defender closes in on 300 Premier League games for the Club.
The former Blues captain was speaking on this week’s The Everton Show and spoke in glowing terms about the 32-year-old, who will reach the landmark should he play against Sunderland on Saturday.
Having played with some of the leading full-backs in the Club’s history while a player himself, Ratcliffe admits he would readily put Baines in their company.
“I played left-back a few times – thankfully not 300 times! – and it is a difficult position,” he said. “The times I have seen Leighton play, he makes it look so easy.
“He is definitely one of the best left-backs we have had at this football club, certainly in my time of watching them. He is up there with Pat van den Hauwe, Ray Wison, John Bailey – we have had some great players but he would be fighting for that top spot I am sure.”
Ratcliffe himself made 493 appearances of Everton over 12 years at Goodison Park, and has hailed the similar longevity shown by Baines.
“It’s been nine or 10 years since he has been at the club and that is a terrific achievement,” added Ratcliffe. “If you add in all the cup games and European ties, then its going to be over 350, and he has been quite an influence.
“Leighton’s game has changed a little bit now. He is not creating and scoring as much as he used to and is maybe becoming a little bit more defensive. But it’s a wonderful achievement for him.”