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Baines denies homesickness cost him World Cup place

Everton defender Leighton Baines has slammed speculation that homesickness was to blame for him being overlooked by Fabio Capello for the England World Cup squad. Baines lost out to Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock for the number two left-back position behind Ashley Cole despite playing the warm-up international against Mexico.

The 23 year old told the Liverpool Daily Echo: "I must admit it was a massive disappointment and something of a surprise even though, like most of the lads in the squad, I knew full well that I wasn't guaranteed a place.

"I was feeling low because I knew I hadn't played my best against Mexico and I spoke to a reporter I know about how the game had gone.

"At the end of the conversation I was asked if I was missing the family while we were away, and I said I was but that it's all part and parcel of being a footballer.

"I'm not embarrassed to admit that being away from the family is difficult at times but I'm not the only player who feels that.

"It's natural when you've got a young family and you're away from home for long spells so I was shocked when I read some of the reports that later surfaced.

"I'd never mentioned the word 'homesick' once. I felt that my comments had been misconstrued and I came across as a bit of a moaner, which is not like me at all."

Baines added: "I was as desperate to make the plane as every other member of the squad and my family was 100% behind me, so I was bitterly disappointed when Mr Capello told me that I wouldn't be going.

"It was a football reason though and had nothing to do with anything written in the newspapers. I respected his decision and wished him and the lads all the best for the tournament."

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