Chelsea goalkeeper Nathan Baxter is consistent in everything he does and says.
Since breaking into men’s football at the very bottom of the English football pyramid, he has given the same response to his ambitions with Chelsea.
In his last interview with GOALBaxter reiterated his long-term stance: “I haven’t been afraid to share with people my belief that I’m good enough to play for Chelsea and I’ve been saying that for many, many years.”
The reason he’s kept being asked is that he’s getting closer to that dream every year. The journey began with his first loan spell at the age of 17 at non-league club Metropolitan Police and brings him to the present day and a stint with Hull City.
The 23-year-old now has over 150 games under his belt and was serenaded with chants of ‘we want you to stay’ during his last home game at MKM Stadium.
With just a year left on his contract with the Blues, Baxter will have to resolve his future again this summer.
“I always do my best when I’m on loan and I want to put in performances to show that I’m good enough.
“It’s my dream to play for Chelsea one day. Whether it’s this summer or not, I don’t know. They’ll bring me into the building and we’ll have to wait and see.
“The next step could be to return to Hull, and why not? I love the place and the fans have really supported me.
“Whatever the decision, I will keep my head down and work as hard as I can.”
Chelsea will be aware of the impressive numbers Baxter has produced on loan this season. He has the highest save percentage in the league with 79.5%. Moreover, he has seven clean sheets and conceded just 17 goals in 16 appearances for the Championship side.
This is all the more remarkable as Baxter started the season as a backup goalkeeper, working his way into the starting role and helping everyone at Hull achieve their goals.
“I was lucky that from an early age at Chelsea I was training with the best players in the world, so I don’t think anything can scare you off on loan,” he said. he adds. “I’ve been lucky enough to have taken extra steps every year, so no leap has felt that big.
“I had Carlo Cudicini who ran the loans department and Christophe Lollichon observed my performances at Hull, so they were very supportive of me. They help me find the loans and then support me.
“I took little bits from every goalkeeper coach I worked with. Plus the players, every manager, the fans, the area and used it to improve.
“When I’m on loan, I fully embrace the club and try to get along with everyone in the dressing room.
“The advantage of the loan system is that you can come in, step by step, with more experience, grow and move up the ranks. There’s not too much of a shock when you have to prove yourself at a high level.
“I want to play at the highest level one day and to do that you need to be world class in all aspects of goalkeeping.”
The next step will ultimately come down to Thomas Tuchel, the new ownership structure and loan and goalkeeper services who will have a say in a player they know is heading in the right direction.
Having been at the club since under-9 level, Baxter has managed to find the right mentality needed to achieve his goals. He didn’t lose sight of his day-to-day business but also made sure his childhood dreams didn’t die.
“While you have to make sure you remember that’s your goal, you also have to make sure you take it loan by loan,” he said.
“If you don’t do well with this loan, obviously the dream won’t be achievable anyway. So you focus on doing it step by step.”