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As the former Wigan chief settles into life at Goodison Park he praised the club's Player of the Year and indicated that Manchester United will face a struggle to prise him away

New Everton boss Roberto Martinez has hailed Leighton Baines as an "icon" for the Merseyside club and admits he is excited to manage a player of his calibre.

Martinez officially took up the Goodison Park reins on Monday but already faces a fight to keep Baines after predecessor and new Manchester United chief David Moyes was unsuccesful with a £12 million bid.

Moyes is expected to to return with an improved offer but Martinez hinted the 28-year-old, who he believes is the best left-back in England, will remain a key figure at the club.

“I think Leighton is more than a player, he is an icon,” Martinez told the Liverpool Echo.

“He represents a lot about our football club and I am really, really excited about Leighton.

“This is a big season for him and for us as a club. When you are the left-back of this football club, and the level that he has been reaching over the last few years consistently, it shows me that he is the best left-back in the country. I can’t wait to start working with him.”