Chelsea's Lewis Baker enjoys 'learning from the best'

Tuesday 07 Oct 2014
Baker has previously captained England U19s and U20s
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Lewis Baker says he wants to keep "learning from the best" as he continues his international progression with the England Under-21s squad.

The Chelsea midfielder has been a part of Jose Mourinho’s first-team squad this campaign and readily admits he has to pinch himself at the prospect of training alongside some of their stars.

England v Croatia

UEFA Euro U21s Championship
Play-off first leg
5.45pm, Friday 10 October 2014
Molineux, Wolverhampton Wanderers
Live on BT Sport
Call 0871 222 1877 for tickets

But his latest step up on the international ladder also comes as a boost having already captained England at U19 and U20 earlier level this year. 

"Training with the likes of [Nemanja] Matic and Cesc Fabregas at Chelsea, I’m learning from the best and that’s what you want to do," said the 19-year-old.

"And being part of the [Chelsea] first team is a great honour for me.

"But being called up to the Under-21s is another great achievement for me.

"It’s a good step, and a big step, and I just need to keep working hard and playing the way I play."

After leading the U20s to a 6-0 win over Romania last month, Baker was initially expecting to be with Aidy Boothroyd’s squad for a tournament against Germany, Turkey and Holland in Heerenveen this week.

But when Under-21 midfield regulars James Ward-Prowse and Nathaniel Chalobah were ruled out of this week’s Euro play-off with Croatia, Baker got the call to join Gareth Southgate’s squad for the first time.

England’s Euro hopes rest on the outcome of this week’s games, starting with the first leg at Wolves’ Molineux on Friday evening before the return game in Croatia next Tuesday, with a place in the Euro Finals in Czech Republic next summer up for grabs.

"We’re getting ready for the game, we know it’s going to be a big game and that Croatia are good as well, so as long as we bring our A-game we should hopefully beat them," added Baker, who enjoyed his first training session with the squad on Monday.

"You’re going to have to do the job at both home and away, but as long as we’re up for the game, mentally prepared and with a big crowd, we’ll be ready for the battle.

"There will be good competition for everyone and everyone is doing great at the moment.

"I’ve just got to take everything in my step because this is such a good group.

"I might not play, I might play but all I can do is just work hard and try my best."

It did not take Luton-born Baker long to settle into life with the Under-21s either, with a familiar figure on the training ground in Southgate’s assistant coach Steve Holland, who also performs the same role at Chelsea. 

"There was a good level at training and it was great," he revealed.

"Steve led a couple of sessions and Gareth spoke to me as well and told me to enjoy the week and that’s what I’m going to do."

Tickets for Friday’s game at Molineux cost just £10 for adults and £5 for concessions. Click here or call 0871 222 1877 to purchase tickets.

England Under-21s and Chelsea midfielder Lewis Baker speaks about his first call-up to the squad

 


By Nicholas Veevers at St. George's Park