LEIGHTON BAINES has backed Leon Osman to take his England call-up in his stride and believes the midfielder’s recognition should be an inspiration to others.
Osman is expected to win his debut cap tomorrow in the friendly against Sweden in Stockholm after being named in the squad alongside Baines and fellow Everton team-mate Phil Jagielka.
It was the 31-year-old’s first international call since appearing for England’s under-16 team in 1998.
And Baines said: “It can be quite daunting when you get called up for the first time but Ossie is someone who will take everything in his stride and I suppose the fact me and Jags are there already will help him.
“He is in our little gang and we are all hoping he gets his first cap because he deserves it. He’s had a brilliant season so far and has shown that if you keep persevering you will get your rewards.
“He has had to wait a long time for this and some people will be wondering why he has been called up but he is a footballer’s footballer.”
Baines revealed the delight at which Osman’s nod by England manager Roy Hodgson was greeted with the Everton camp at Finch Farm.
“We were all genuinely made up for him,” said the left-back, who is also expected to play tomorrow with Ashley Cole ruled out.
“The manager had pulled me and Jags before he got everyone together to say he’d heard there was a chance Ossie had been called up but he didn’t want to say too much in case it never worked out.
“But when he called everyone around on the pitch to tell us, everyone was over the moon for him. It’s brilliant and fully deserved.