Chelsea left back Baba Rahman is back playing in England after five years of loan spells all around Europe, including last season in Greece at PAOK. Beyond just the standard Loan Army travails, it has been far from an easy journey for the Ghana international, from failing to live up to expectations in his debut season back in 2015-16, to severe knee injuries that had kept him off the pitch for more than two years.
However adversity has not kept the 27-year-old down. He’s kept on fighting, kept on working, and kept his focus on his ultimate goal of returning to play one day in the Premier League. Taking on a starring role at Championship side Reading when the opportunity arose is certainly not a bad step in that direction.
“When the opportunity came I was happy and I think I have settled in well from the beginning. [...] I spoke to the manager and he told me how the team would shape up and play. And I was like, this is what I want, this is something I have to add to my game.
“[Returning to the Premier League was] the main reason why I had to stay in England, so it’s going to happen if I perform well here...”
Since arriving towards the end of the summer transfer window, Baba has been ever-present for the Royals, starting all twelve of their league games and playing every single minute. The team, led by former Chelsea youngster John Swift with eight goals and seven assists, may be mired in midtable mediocrity right now, having recently lost four on the bounce after winning five of Baba’s first seven games, but if they can find some consistency, perhaps they can push for promotion, even.
“As a team we’ve had some ups and downs but I am loving my stay here. Things can change quickly — I was expecting that in the Championship before I arrived. You see teams up there and then they lose a few games they are in mid table or near the bottom. In the Championship you can’t give up points. We just have to keep the consistency.”
-Baba Rahman; source: Berkshire Live
If Baba can keep this up, surely he will be playing Premier League football once again before long — either with Reading or some other team. Wing-backs are only increasing in importance in the modern game, and that’s certainly where Baba’s skills and strengths lie.