Martinez hopeful Baines stays put in January

The Spaniard has reiterated that the England defender is enjoying his football, suggesting that it is a time to trust Everton's decision-making behind the scenes
Everton manager Roberto Martinez is hoping the club can hang on to Leighton Baines in January, with Manchester United still heavily linked with a move for the England full-back.

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Goal exclusively revealed at the beginning of October that David Moyes' side are expecting Baines to hand in a transfer request in an attempt to force through a winter switch to Old Trafford.

But when asked about the 28-year-old's future, Martinez told reporters: "Leighton is enjoying his football. It is a time to trust the club to do the things we do.

"It's not the right time to speak about those situations. Leighton has had a massive role this season and we want that to continue.

"I always said we will always work extremely hard on a daily basis to get stronger

"That means looking after the players who are playing well, and working hard on the recruitment side to improve the squad.

"When there is anything to tell the fans they will be the first to know."

Martinez recently insisted that there is no rush to offer the left-back a new deal, with the Spaniard preferring to concentrate on his performances this season.

Manchester United were keen to lure the 28-year-old England international to Old Trafford this summer but boss David Moyes had to settle for signing only one of his former players, Marouane Fellaini.

Despite Baines' impressive performances this season, though, Everton have put any prospective transfer talks on hold as Martinez prioritises working with the player in training and in the build-up to games.

"At the moment, all it is is the games and any individual contracts or situations are put aside," the Spaniard told reporters in September.

"The only thing that concerns me is just to make sure he’s as fit as he can be and gets in a stronger position and balances the demands of England and club level.

"That’s what I’m focused on, that his day to day is perfect.

"Everything else, behind the scenes we’re happy with the situation and we’re making sure he’s happy as well."