Nathan Baxter is taking a slightly different approach to Chelsea’s loan system than most of the Academy’s young prospects. No, he’s not skipping it and going straight into the first-team. Instead, the 18-year-old is actively seeking out situations that he’s not been exposed to during his youth days, even if that means dropping well down to non-league football. Playing goalkeeper for Chelsea Academy is actually a pretty boring and unchallenging task on most days; playing goalkeeper in the rough-and-tumble lower leagues will make you grow up rather quickly.
He spoke about this at length after last season’s loans to Met Police of the Isthmian League (7th tier) and Solihull Moors of the
Conference National League (5th tier), and having thus been exposed to serious full-time professional football at just 17, he’s set to continue these adventures with his next loan move, confirmed earlier today by Chelsea and Woking.
So Baxter stays in the fifth tier, this time with Woking who finished two places below Solihull in 18th. In his first interview with the club, young Baxter revealed his full commitment to his new club for the next season.
“I’m here for a full season, I think it’s important when you come to a club that you fully commit to it. I want to show people that I can put together a full season of consistent National League performances. It’s a really exciting club to be at and I hope we can finish as high as possible.”
-Nathan Baxter; source: Woking FC
As @chelseayouth points out, Baxter was the youngest first-choice goalkeeper in the country’s top seven divisions last season, and that alone merits a bit more excitement about him than most of our recent goalkeeper graduates.
Wrote about Baxter's prospects last week if you're not too aware of him. https://t.co/ma0wjeOIbT - Woking's a good move right now.— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) June 21, 2017
Baxter is expected to be first-choice for new Woking manager Anthony Limbrick, a former youth coach at Southampton, West Ham, and England U17s. Good luck to them this season!