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Carlo Ancelotti is the perfect manager for veteran Everton star Leighton Baines

Everton are set to offer Leighton Baines a new contract at the club. The 35-year-old veteran has recently stepped in for the injured Lucas Digne at left-back. Whilst not the swashbuckling assist-king he used to be, there is no doubt that Baines still has plenty to offer at Goodison Park as a back-up. 

He would also be working under the perfect boss to do so. 

Carlo Ancelotti is not afraid to give players of Baines’ epoch a chance to be a major part of a squad. 

It was something the Italian even alluded to himself in conversation with the Everton website this week.

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“(Paolo) Maldini only stopped playing because eventually he had physical problems, he could have played more [in terms of ability].”

“Maldini won a Champions League when he was nearly 40 – so Leighton has time to win the Champions League.”

Ancelotti’s great AC Milan team contained such elder statesmen as Maldini, Alessandro Costacurta and Cafu. 

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His Chelsea team also contained plenty of players on the ‘wrong’ side of 30. The Italian defended that fact to the press in 2010, as reported by The Guardian. The likes of Ricardo Carvalho, Deco, Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack, and Nicolas Anelka certainly all had their roles at Stamford Bridge. 

“When a player is 32 or 33, it’s not old. He is a player in the middle of his career. Maybe 20 years ago when I finished my career at 33, I was an old player but now training sessions have improved, there is more prevention and so the career of a player is longer. 

“I think ­passing 30 … these are the prime years, this is the best moment of their careers, with their experience and personality. Not every player can get to 40 like Paolo Maldini but, until 35 years old, a player can give his best.”

Baines is just 35-years-old and whilst he has had rotten injury luck in recent seasons it appears the 30-cap England international has taken good care of himself off the pitch. 

Having his experience and clubmanship around Everton can only be a benefit, especially for young players like Anthony Gordon, Jarrad Branthwaite and Ellis Simms trying to breakthrough. 

Then, when Digne needs a rest or is injured, there’s no doubt Baines will put everything on the line for the badge. Everton fans can’t ask for much more than that.

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