Former England left-back Graeme Le Saux believes Everton man Leighton Baines should get the nod for England’s World Cup opener against Italy, Sky
Baines is in competition with Southampton youngster Luke Shaw for the starting place after manager Roy Hodgson left out Chelsea’s Ashley Cole. Le Saux, who wore the Three Lions in the 1998 tournament in France, believes that while Shaw’s future at international level is bright, he will play second fiddle to Baines this time.
“Luke is at the beginning of his career path, has had a great season with Southampton and totally justifies his inclusion in Roy’s squad,” Le Saux said. “As a left-back myself, I have confidence in his ability defensively but also creatively – he has great pace and fantastic energy – so I have no doubts about him.
“But I think it’s safe to say that Leighton Baines, given the season he’s had, is the first choice left-back,” the former Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers and Southampton defender added.
Le Saux made 36 appearances for England, earning his first cap against Denmark in 1994. He scored once for the national team, a 1995 goal in a friendly at Wembley against Brazil.
The Jersey native also touched on the differences between playing as a full-back today as compared to when he was plying his trade. “I think modern full-backs are more exposed than they used to be,” Le Saux continued. “When I played, we had a bit more cover in those days because of the way teams were set up.”
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