Former glories inspire Baines
Leighton Baines can see similarities between the current Everton side and that which won the FA Cup in 1995.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 19/04/09 2:15pm
Leighton Baines can see similarities between the current Everton side and the one that won the FA Cup in 1995.
Then, under the leadership of Joe Royle, the Toffees beat Manchester United 1-0 to lift the famous trophy.
The 24-year-old is hoping the current crop at Goodison Park get the chance to emulate that fete 14 years on when they face United in the semi-final of the FA Cup at Wembley on Sunday.
The left-back was just 10 at the time of the Cup final success and a part of the Toffees academy.
Along with all of the other youngsters on the clubs books Baines was taken down to Wembley to watch the final and he is confident of upsetting the odds again this time around.
"That side went into the final as underdogs and it will be the same for us in this semi-final," Baines, who was released by the club then resigned from Wigan for £6million in 2007, said.
"But I feel there is less pressure on us.
"We know it is possible to beat Manchester United and they will have had a difficult build-up to the match with a tiring away Champions League game (in Porto) this week to contend with.
Starved of success
"It has been a long time for Everton fans since they last experienced something like this.
"There is still some of the older fans who will remember the glory days, but I have got friends who are season ticket holders who have never seen anything like this.
"I never imagined when I was 10 that I would one day be involved in a game like this at Wembley against Manchester United, so I want to get to a final too."
If Everton are to get past the Red Devils they will have to keep a close eye on Cristiano Ronaldo, after the winger's match-winning display in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie with Porto on Wednesday.
Baines could have the unenviable task of marking the current World Player of the Year but he states that their opponents have more than one player who can hurt them.
"I don't know whether I will be facing Ronaldo. He tends to switch from wing to wing," he added.
"Their players change positions all the time. Their forwards, such intelligent footballers, just go out and play off each other.
"But whoever it is, you know you will be facing a top class player, be it Ronaldo or any of them.
"Some say he doesn't like a tackle. But he's far more physical then people give him credit for. He's a big strong lad and hard to play against.
"If you can get about him that can help. But there is no point thinking of ways to wind him up because he is such a good professional, whatever people say and on song he is virtually unstoppable.
"They have players like him and Wayne Rooney who play with their hearts on their sleeve. They are a tough side because they care so much."