Baines slams homesick claim
Leighton Baines has slammed speculation that homesickness was to blame for his World Cup snub.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 15/06/10 2:26pm
Everton defender Leighton Baines has slammed speculation that homesickness was to blame for his World Cup snub.
The 25-year-old left-back had been named in England's provisional squad and won his second cap in the warm-up friendly against Mexico last month.
But when Fabio Capello named his final 23-man squad he instead opted for Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock as his second-choice left-back.
Warnock did not feature against Mexico or in the final friendly against Japan so Baines admits his disappointment at missing out.
The former Wigan man has previously admitted he has a very close family and now has a wife and three children of his own, but he insisted that had nothing to do with Capello preferring not to take him to South Africa.
"I must admit, it was a massive disappointment and something of a surprise even though, like most of the lads in the squad, I knew full well that I wasn't guaranteed a place," Baines told the club's official website.
"I was feeling low because I knew I hadn't played my best against Mexico and I spoke to a reporter I know about how the game had gone.
"At the end of the conversation I was asked if I was missing the family while we were away, and I said I was but that it's all part and parcel of being a footballer.
"I'm not embarrassed to admit that being away from the family is difficult at times but I'm not the only player who feels that.
"It's natural when you've got a young family and you're away from home for long spells so I was shocked when I read some of the reports that later surfaced.
"I'd never mentioned the word 'homesick' once. I felt that my comments had been misconstrued and I came across as a bit of a moaner, which is not like me at all."
While Baines feels he was portrayed in an unfavourable light, he is confident the reports did not influence Capello's choice.
"I was as desperate to make the plane as every other member of the squad and my family was 100% behind me, so I was bitterly disappointed when Mr Capello told me that I wouldn't be going," he added.
"It was a football reason, though, and had nothing to do with anything written in the newspapers.
"I respected his decision and wished him and the lads all the best for the tournament."