Perceptions I suppose, but my view was he doesnt have the legs to get up and down to do the link up play anymore thats why hes not doing it. He hasnt done it for years, since Pienaar left, and whilst they were great together he needs to have more in his arsenal than a reliance on a player thats now retired, thats why I think itd be best if he did move on, or become a squad player and not the regular left back.
But on the rare occasions there is someone in front of him who knows what they are doing, he still gets up and down fine.
You could literally see the frustration on his face from the Bullens at the end of last season when he had Bolasie in front of him hiding behind defenders and still calling for the ball, or running long when there was a massive space he could run into to receive the ball short. The derby at Goodison changed when Calvert Lewin was brought on to play on the left.... he isn't really a left sided player either but he understands the game, and straight away Baines was getting into dangerous postions because he actually had someone to play off.
We had the same problem for the last 2 years of Martinez spell, where whoever was played on the left just didn't suit the role (Ross Barkley, Naismith, occasionally Cleverly... whoever else).