Baines: This is as good an Everton side as any I have played in

After three wins in five games, the England international feels his team are at their strongest since finishing FA Cup runners-up in 2009, praising in particular their squad depth
Leighton Baines insisted the current Everton squad is as good as any he has played in following his side’s comfortable 3-0 away win against Swansea.

The Toffees have risen to third in the Premier League after picking up three wins from their opening five games, with the left-back setting up two and scoring one of his side’s nine goals in the process.

The 27-year-old was confident that the team’s strong start could be the start of considerable success.

He told The Mirror: "This is as good an Everton side as any I’ve played in.

5/1 Everton are 5/1 to finish in the top four of the Premier League with bet365
"The last time we were at this level was the year we got to the [2009] FA Cup final. We had a really strong squad then. It got broken up but we’re getting back to that.

"Our aim this season was to get off to a decent start and we’ve just about done that. Now it’s about taking it through until Christmas and staying in the top half of the table.

"Over the years, we’ve tended to do well from then onwards. We know if we put ourselves in a good position in the first half we will have a decent chance in the second. Hopefully we can make that next step."

The defender went on to highlight the club’s strength in depth, praising the performance of 24-year-old Victor Anichebe after he stood in for injured regular centre-forward Nikita Jelavic, also hitting the opening goal against Swansea.

He explained: "We are a good team with good players sitting on the bench. That is going to be key as the season goes on.

"We have seen it when things have got a bit thin in terms of numbers and we have been forced to play young lads. Now we can call on experienced and seasoned professionals who would be playing in most teams.

"Victor's performance highlights that."

He also commented on their chances in the League Cup, with his side set to Leeds on Tuesday, adding: “Leeds will be a tough game but we want to go on a Cup run. We want to win a trophy and a cup is the best route to do that.

"I can’t say we’re going to win the league after a half-decent start to the season. The Cup is an easier route because you play seven, eight or nine games to win a trophy – it’s not over a course of 30 games that you have to be the best."