Lewis Baker: Away games feel like home with England U21s

Sunday 27 Mar 2016
England U21s midfielder Lewis Baker

While the majority of England Under-21s’ squad dispersed to various corners of the country following this week’s trip to Switzerland, two players faced a further leg to their journey.

Lewis Baker and his Chelsea team-mate Dominic Solanke would take to the air once more, returning to their temporary home in Arnhem.

Switzerland 1-1 England

UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group 9
Arena Thun, Switzerland
6pm (GMT) 27 March 2016
Live on BT Sport 1

The Vitesse duo are spending a year developing their game in the Dutch top-flight, and while they have settled in well to life in the Netherlands, they treat England camps as a home-from-home.

Joking with Young Lions team-mate and Arsenal striker Chuba Akpom, Baker said: It’s been nice to be around some English boys now. I’m not sure if these boys have good banter though!

He added: “It’s been a good week. All the players are getting to know each other better and better each day and the confidence is building as a team.

“We were unlucky not to get the three points but we go again in Toulon and try to win that tournament.

“That’s a great way for these boys to get to know each other a bit better and go into the qualifying games feeling confident.”

Lewis Baker in training with England U21s

Lewis Baker in training with England U21s

Baker was pleased with his own input, putting in a confident display in central midfield, and easing into his role as one of the group’s more experienced campaigners.

He said: “We’ve all got an important part to play but I have played a few games so I know what to expect. We need to put in a good shift to make the team work.”

Casting his mind back to life in the Netherlands, Baker said: “I am grateful for the opportunity. The culture is different and you’re away from your friends and family, and sometimes it can get lonely.

“But you’re there to do a job and learn as much as you can and I have learned a lot on the pitch."

He added: “The coaches in Holland have helped. I’ve learned a lot of things for my position and it’s starting to show in games.

“The more you play the more you learn because different games throw up different scenarios.

“My application to the game has been much better. I’ll definitely take that back with me.”

By James Callow Content manager In Bern