Roberto Martinez: 'Leighton Baines can emulate Philipp Lahm'

Leighton Baines of Everton celebrates victory after the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Norwich City at Goodison Park on January 11, 2014
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Roberto Martinez believes that Everton left-back Leighton Baines can develop into a central midfielder.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has claimed that Leighton Baines can emulate Philipp Lahm and move from full-back to central midfield.

Lahm has been reinvented as a midfielder under Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich this season, after years at right-back and left-back.

Martinez believes that Baines has similar attributes and took him to watch the German in action against Manchester United last week.

"I always thought that Leighton can develop into Lahm's role," Martinez told reporters. "It's in his make-up.

"Not in this season but in seasons to come he is someone who can play in a central role. I wanted him to watch Lahm in a live game rather than on TV. It was good for Leighton to watch a player who I feel he can be as good as or even better than.

"Leighton doesn't give the ball away, he has a very low centre of gravity and technically he is as good as it gets. He can be more expansive in central midfield than at left-back."

Everton's next game is an important one against Arsenal on Sunday afternoon.

Steven Naismith of Everton celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Everton at Craven Cottage on March 30, 2014
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