With two-and-a-half years' worth of first-team experience at Everton under his belt, Baines was enjoying a rapid rise in the Spring of 2010.
The 28-year-old earned his first England cap against Egypt in March of that year and he seemed a dead cert to be Ashley Cole's back-up for the World Cup in South Africa.
Fabio Capello chose Baines ahead of Cole for a warm-up game against Mexico after selecting him in a 30-strong preliminary squad.
Then, while on a break back in England, the defender received a phone call from the Italian telling him that Stephen Warnock would be Cole's back-up for the tournament.
"I was on my way to Toys R Us to buy a trampoline for the kids," Baines revealed.
"Capello said: 'Just wanted to let you know that you are not coming with us. Hopefully we will work together again.'
"I was on the Dock Road in Liverpool, in the car so it was strange."
Baines headed for the beaches and five-star luxury of Dubai with Joleon Lescott and his family, but it was impossible for him to escape the pain that came with rejection.
"I went away with my family but (the disappointment) lingers for a while," he said.
"I watched the game against America in the hotel. I watched the Germany game as well.
"I didn't know whether I wanted to watch the game or not, but inevitably I did and I didn't enjoy it.
"The disappointment was still with me when I came back pre-season."
Having been reminded of that disappointment, Baines is understandably keen not to go through the same process this summer.
There is no doubt about Baines not being selected this time, of course - his form has been so good over the last 18 months that Manchester United were interested in buying him this summer - but England still have work to do if they are to qualify for next year's World Cup.
England came through a nervy first half to swat aside Montenegro 4-1 on Friday night, but only a win over Poland on Tuesday will guarantee automatic qualification.
Baines is confident that England will get the job done on Tuesday, and unlike many others around, he thinks the team will perform well in Brazil if they qualify.
"We have fresh blood and excitement - combined with the experience of other players - and that mix puts us in a great position to go there and try and do something there," Baines said.