Baines: Scrap's made me better
By Chris Stanton
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Leighton Baines believes Wigan's relegation scrap has made him a better player.
Leighton Baines believes Wigan's relegation scrap has made him a better player and has rubbished suggestions he may have to move on in order to realise his England dream.
The budding England Under 21 left-back has proved his Premiership pedigree again this season despite The Latics' struggles at the foot.
Baines concedes it has not been an enjoyable experience but that, in the long-run, it may actually benefit him as a player.
"It has been a big test of our mental strength and the character in our squad," said Baines.
"I've had to dig deep and I'm sure experiencing this sort of thing has made me a better player. That applies to a lot of the other lads too."
Baines, an international at Under-21 level, was disappointed to be overlooked by Steve McClaren for his squad to face Spain last month but admits that he was not altogether surprised.
"It was disappointing to miss out but I accept it's more difficult to get noticed if you are not playing for a team in the top half of the Premiership or playing in Europe," said Baines.
"If you have ambitions to play for your country you have to be playing for a team that is doing well - like we were last season.
"This club has massive potential. I believe that - and I'm happy here."