Leighton Baines: England Legend
England manager David Beckham
has confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Leighton Baines
will be playing in the Three Lions' first Euro 2020 group game against Austria.
This means that Baines, currently at 99 international caps, will win his 100th cap for England tomorrow.
The Bayern Munich left-back was the player chosen to attend the press conference with Beckham, citing that he'll lead the Three Lions instead of captain Wayne Rooney
and vice-captain Phil Jones
to celebrate his 100th cap.
The 35-year-old had humble beginnings, starting his professional football career with Wigan Athletic before his brilliant performances for the Latics led to a move to Everton in 2007.
With the Toffees, Baines enjoyed a successful few years, establishing himself as a legendary figure at Goodison Park for his outstanding defensive and offensive capabilities. In January 2013, Baines eventually completed a move to Manchester United after prolonged speculation and negotiations.
With the Red Devils, Baines became an even better player and even managed to oust Ashley Cole
as first-choice left-back in the England squad. With age catching up rapidly, he was soon no longer good enough to hold down a first-team spot at Old Trafford, and joined Bayern Munich on a free transfer as a backup option as well as an experienced figure to learn from for the youngsters at the Allianz Arena.
"I'm very happy," said the former Everton and United man. "I didn't even expect I would get called up for Euro 2020, and I wasn't so sure if I could win my 100th cap. But thanks to David, I've been given the opportunity to go down in the history of this great national side.
"Being able to win 100 caps for my country means the world to me. I will also be the captain tomorrow against Austria and that is something I look forward to, because captaining the national team has been a dream of mine since I started my career."
Baines also discussed his future in football.
The 35-year-old made only 13 appearances in the Bundesliga in his debut season for Bayern Munich, and due to a lack of first-team opportunities and game time, Baines is said to be ready to quit playing football.
"That is something I have given very serious thought to," replied Baines, when questioned on retirement from professional football. "I'm not the player I used to be. But we will decide after the Euros. For now I am just dedicated to giving my all for England."