Manchester United target can be like Philipp Lahm

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Baines may become a midfielder like Lahm
Baines may become a midfielder like Lahm.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez wants Leighton Baines to move to midfield like Phillipp Lahm, and he sent the defender to watch the Bayern Munich captain at Old Trafford in midweek. 

Lahm has reinvented himself as a holding midfielder under new Bayern boss Pep Guardiola after making his name as a left-back.

Now Martinez wants Baines to make the same transition in the future, and the pair went to Lahm's Champions League tie against Manchester United on Tuesday to see the little German in action.

Any United fans who spotted the 29-year-old in the stands against the European champions may have been excited that David Moyes was about to land the England international, but that is not the case. 

Moyes had chased the player he managed at the Toffees but any hopes of a transfer received a blow in January when Baines signed a new contract at Goodison Park.

In contrast Martinez is looking forward to having Baines continue his development on Merseyside: "I've always thought Leighton can develop into Philipp Lahm's role, it is in his make-up," said the Everton manager who replaced Moyes in the summer.

"Not this season but in seasons to come he is someone who can play in that central role. I wanted him to watch Philipp Lahm in a live game because when it's on TV you only see the player when he's on the ball. It was good for Leighton to watch a player I feel he can be as good as or even better.

"Like Lahm, Leighton doesn't give the ball away, he's got a very low centre of gravity and technically he is as good as it gets.

"When you have that control of the ball and have been such a good defender, and as a left-back you have to be very good on one-v-one situations, it is very important to have that defensive mindset in those midfield areas. That is important for defensive balance."

Everton have had another solid season and still aren't completely out of the race for Champions League football, they are in a much better situation than seventh-placed United.

Baines became a Toffee in 2007 after a move from Wigan Athletic. The England star, who is expected to make Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad, has played nearly 300 times for the club.

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