The lack of a dependable left back had been something of a problem under David Moyes — none of Gary Naysmith, Nuno Valente and Alessandro Pistone had proved able to either produce consistency of form or fitness — which is what prompted him to send £6m (an initial £5m with the rest dependent on appearances) the way of Wigan Athletic in a bid to finally solve that area of the first team.
At the time it was the third-highest fee Everton had paid for a player — it was eclipsed a couple of weeks later when Yakubu arrived for £11.25m — and he signed a five-year deal, signalling the faith Moyes had in the 22-year-old as a long-term prospect.
Baines had two years' Premier League experience under his belt and was an England U-21 international when he arrived at Goodison. So it was no surprise that he was an automatic first-team choice at the start of the season... once he'd overcome an injury sustained in pre-season that prevented him from playing in the season opener against his old team, Wigan.
He eventually made his debut in the home game against Blackburn and was first choice at left-back until he succumbed to back-to-back injuries that sidelined him for the best part of two months. First, he was the victim of a terrible tackle at Derby County at the end of October that sidelined him for all of November; then, his comeback was cut short in early December when he tore a hamstring and wasn't fit to return until New Year's Day 2008.
With Lescott performing superbly as a makeshift left-back, it was hard for Baines to establish himself in the team, despite fmany years to come. He did well enough with the chances he got, but it was piecemeal and lacked the continuity needed for him ine words from Moyes that he would be Everton's first-choice left-back for to prove himself.
The left-back has been plagued by fitness problems since he arrived at Goodison band finally had the operation in May 2008 to remove a piece of bone on his ankle.
He has now made the left back position his own and in 2009 Bainsey was called up to the England squad for the first time.
Over the last few seasons Bainesy has been outstanding for Everton. His attacking play and link up with Steven Pienaar has been top notch.