Date: 16th September 2008 at 12:46pm
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Nathan Baker is yet another in a long line of exciting prospects to come through the club’s youth academy.

The club have announced the 17-year-old has secured his first professional contract, a three year deal.

Nathan has impressed with solid performances for the Under-18s and Reserve teams and it would now appear he is on the verge of breaking into the first team. With Craig Gardner, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Isaiah Osbourne already involved in the first team, Baker will be hoping like Nathan Delfouneso will be, that he is given a chance this season.

Under-18 coach Tony McAndrew had this to say about the talented defender – ‘He is a young lad who we’ve had at the club for a few years,’ said the youth coach. ‘He struggled with injuries in his first six months and missed a bit of training. But since last Christmas, he’s worked his socks off and has become an aggressive, positive defender.’

I have been lucky enough to see this lad during pre-season and he reminds me of Martin Laursen, big and strong in the middle and good in the air. He played Centre Back against Walsall and was very solid, i am told he is just as good at Left Back.

McAndrew is also impressed by his attitude – ‘You can’t teach people to want to put their head in there and win a football challenge. He wants to do that and for a defender that’s a fantastic quality. He wants to put his body on the line. He enjoys defending and I find it very refreshing to see that.’

With so many talented youngsters already in the side, Baker has got a real chance of being part of the Villa team.