Nathan Baxter is an expert level player in Chelsea’s
squid loan game, with the Academy goalkeeper taking advantage of the system early and often to earn experiences he could never get at Cobham or in youth football or as a backup to the first-team.
Since 2016, he’s played in the seventh, fifth, fourth, and third tiers of English football, and also spent a season up in the Scottish top flight. This season, he’s stepped up into the second tier, joining Hull City. Unfortunately, his involvement had been limited to just a solitary appearance, in the League Cup back in mid-August, losing on a penalty shootout to Wigan Athletic.
But over the weekend he finally got to make his Championship debut, and in a big match as well with Hull taking on Barnsley in an early season relegation six-pointer. If you read the title of this post, you’ll already know that Baxter’s only gone and kept a clean sheet, backstopping a crucial 2-0 win for the Tigers — only their third all season.
While Hull remain in the relegation zone at the moment, perhaps playing Baxter a bit more often in the future could be helpful in getting out of it! Their manager downplayed any immediate suggestions of a more permanent change at the back, but perhaps he will have a rethink.
“It was more to freshen Matty [Ingram] to be honest. [We’re] fortunate at the club to have three very good goalkeepers. [But] sometimes it’s good to hear a different voice in the back four and we felt today was a good opportunity to give Nathan a start because he’s been excellent.
“His attitude is first class, the way he trains is phenomenal and I felt he deserved it. (He was) excellent, he’s a different type to Matty, they’re different goalkeepers different in terms of their attributes [and] in the way they go about the game and I thought he was good, he was calm and a lot of the shots that went his way he was clean with them, so I was pleased with him.”
-Grant McCann; source: Hull Live
Baxter celebrates his 23rd birthday today; the clean sheet will have provided a bit of extra icing on the cake.
Hopefully there’s more to come as he continues to executive to his master plan and keeping his intentions set on a future first-team spot at Chelsea.