London - The transfer window should shut before the Premier
League starts to avoid talented youngsters such as John Stones being forced
into "difficult" situations if they attract the
"relentless" attention of bigger clubs, Everton defender Leighton
Baines has said.
The injured England left-back has echoed Toffees' manager
Roberto Martinez in the wake of Chelsea's pursuit of the 21-year-old and
praised the young defender for handling the intense scrutiny and carrying on
performing for the team despite handing in a transfer request.
"The manager's touched on it a few times that the
window shouldn't be open and I think pretty much everyone in football would
agree with that," Baines told the club website (www.evertonfc.com).
"It's just a source of entertainment for people on the
outside now and it doesn't help anybody in the game," he added.
Also read: Everton reeling from Baines injury
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright and Martinez stood firm in
the face of Chelsea's dogged pursuit of Stones, who has played every minute of
Premier League football for his team so far.
"We're just glad the club took the stance they did and
we've been able to keep him," said Baines, who is yet to feature for
Everton this season after undergoing ankle surgery in August.
"It has been relentless, particularly for John. Seeing
him first-hand on a daily basis, it's been difficult for him to deal with. He's
still a young lad.
"John knows how to play football -- he's being doing it
all his life -- (but) he hasn't had to cope with situations like this
"It's John who has to pick himself up now, dust himself
down and move forward," the 30-year-old said.
"I think there's a misconception sometimes -- people
think that when a footballer hands in a transfer request they do it and go off
and play a game of golf or whatever.
"But it's actually been such a tough thing and, as a
young lad, you do lean on other people a bit more for advice at these
times," he added.
"I think the true reflection of John has been shown on
the pitch -- he's conducted himself brilliantly in the dressing room and he's
performed well in all the games."For
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