Nathan Baker (footballer)
Baker playing for Aston Villa in 2014
|Full name||Nathan Luke Baker|
|Date of birth||23 April 1991|
|Place of birth||Worcester, England|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back / Left back|
|2009–2010||→ Lincoln City (loan)||18||(0)|
|2011||→ Millwall (loan)||6||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 1 May 2015.
† Appearances (Goals).
Baker signed for Aston Villa as a 13-year-old in 2004, and rose through the ranks at the club, making his Academy debut in 2007. He was a pivotal figure in the centre of defence alongside Ciaran Clark in the 2007–08 season, as Villa clinched the national title, defeating Manchester City in the final. Baker finished the season with 1 goal from 23 appearances for the Academy team, and 2 goals from 7 appearances for the Reserves, who also tasted success by clinching the Premier Reserve League South.
The defender progressed to the first-team in the summer of 2008 by making the squad for the tour of Switzerland, of which Baker played in both matches against FC Wil and FC Zürich. In July 2008, Baker was named on the bench for the second leg of the UEFA Intertoto Cup tie against Odense Boldklub. A week later he was again named on the bench, this time for the trip to Icelandic side Fimleikafélag Hafnarfjarðar in the Second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup.
On 23 October 2009, Baker signed for Lincoln City on a month-long loan deal alongside fellow defender Eric Lichaj. Lincoln City manager and former Aston Villa striker Chris Sutton handed Baker his league debut at Sincil Bank on 24 October 2009, in a 0–0 draw with Torquay United. Baker impressed at Lincoln, and his loan deal was eventually extended to the end of the 2009–10 season.
Baker was banned from attending Aston Villa's League Cup final against Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on 28 February 2010 after being caught trying to sell his allocation of tickets via the social networking website Facebook. The 18-year-old defender attempted to sell five tickets at a price of £200 each, but later said that he regretted his actions.
Baker was brought in to the Aston Villa squad for the derby match against Birmingham City on 16 January 2011. He was an unused substitute as Villa drew 1–1. Baker made his starting debut against Wigan Athletic on 25 January 2011 at DW Stadium. On 29 January 2011, his second ever start, Baker gained an assist for the third goal but was then sent off for a dangerous tackle in an FA Cup Fourth Round tie against Blackburn Rovers. On 26 February, Baker made his second league start for Villa against Blackburn Rovers, but went off injured in the first half after a collision with goal keeper Paul Robinson. Villa announced on 2 June 2011 that Baker had signed a new three-year contract with the club.
On 22 November he joined Millwall on a one-month loan deal. He was assigned the squad number 27 and made his debut four days later, helping Millwall keep a clean sheet against Crystal Palace. He made six league appearances before his loan spell ended in December with a 1–0 win against Portsmouth on 26 December being his last game. He returned to Villa and made his first appearance of the season coming on as a late sub for Richard Dunne against Manchester City on 12 February.
During the 2012–13 season, Baker established himself as a centre back with great aerial ability. Due to an injury to Ron Vlaar, Baker was partnered with fellow academy graduate Ciaran Clark and impressed during a difficult spell where Villa conceded lots of goals. On occasion he also played at left back in the absence of Joe Bennett. On 9 March, manager Paul Lambert praised his maturity for produing another outstanding performance after slicing the ball into his own net to give Reading a first-half lead. In May 2013 Baker signed a new three-year deal with Aston Villa which would keep him there until 2016.
Baker made his first appearance against Arsenal, before getting subbed off due to injury in the 17th minute. He missed the next games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle before making his return to the squad as an unused substitute against Norwich. He made his full return starting at Villa Park in a dramatic 3-2 win over Manchester City, before being dropped to the bench against Hull. After that, Baker and Vlaar were Paul Lambert's preferred defensive partnership, however, due to Vlaar's constant injury problems, Baker was often partnered with fellow academy graduate, Ciaran Clark
Although Baker was a regular throughout the 2013-14 season, Baker was an unused substitute against Villa's opening fixture, a 1-0 Victory against Stoke. He made his first appearance of the season as an 82' minute substitution for Aly Cissokho. After injury ruled captain, Ron Vlaar out, Baker made his first start against Liverpool, putting in a great performance alongside Philippe Senderos, keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory. He was set to start against Arsenal, however, like many of his teammates suffered from an illness and was left out of the squad. Baker went on to start against Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton. He wasn't included in the squad against Queens Park Rangers, before starting against Spurs. During the 0-0 draw against West Ham United, Baker picked up a knee injury. After a long lay off, Baker was an unused substitute Leicester before starting against Liverpool on the 17th of January, 2015.
Baker has represented England at under-19, under-20 and under-21 level. He made his debut for the under-19 side on 18 November 2008 as they beat Germany 1–0. He made 9 appearances for the under-19's and was part of the England squad at the 2011 under-20 World Cup, playing in all of England's games at the tournament. He made his debut for the under-21 squad in 2011 against Iceland in Preston. His other two caps came in wins against Israel and Norway during 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualification.
- As of 25 January 2014.
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Lincoln City (loan)||18||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||18||0|
- "Premier League clubs submit squad lists". premierleague.com (Premier League). 1 September 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
- The FA.com – Nathan Baker's Profile Retrieved 9 August 2011.
- "Imps keep Baker to end of season". BBC News. 21 January 2010.
- "Villa ban youth player from final". BBC News. 5 February 2010.
- Moxley, Neil (5 February 2010). "Nathan Baker rapped by Aston Villa for selling Carling Cup final tickets on Facebook". Daily Mail (London).
- Aston Villa star Nathan Baker caught touting Carling Cup final tickets on Facebook – News – MirrorFootball.co.uk
- "Birmingham 1–1 Aston Villa". BBC News. 16 January 2011.
- "Baker agrees new three-year Villa deal". Aston Villa F.C. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
- "Aston Villa defender Nathan Baker loaned to Millwall" BBC Sport. 22 November 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
- "Crystal Palace 0–0 Millwall" BBC Sport. 26 November 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
- "Millwall 1–0 Portsmouth" BBC Sport. 26 December 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
- "Aston Villa 0–1 Man City" BBC Sport. 12 February 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
- Brown, Paul (10 March 2013). "Reading 1–2 Villa: Lambert – Baker was exceptional after own-goal". Aston Villa F.C. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- Nathan Baker career statistics at Soccerbase