Matt Baker relishing opportunity with Wales Under-21s
Matt Baker is determined to make the most of his Wales chance after a football journey that began on the beach during summer holidays in Tenby.
Maidstone-born Baker’s mother Sandra hails from Narberth in Pembrokeshire and the Stoke defender often spent summer days playing football at nearby Tenby.
“I used to go down there as a kid, playing football on the beach in Tenby,” said Baker, who is currently on loan at Newport and set to line-up for Wales in their under-21 friendly with Scotland in Pinatar on Sunday.
“I’ve still got family in Pembrokeshire and I go down there whenever I can.
“Playing for Newport makes it a lot easier and they are proud of me playing for a Welsh team.”
Baker has made nine appearances for Newport since leaving the Potteries in January and joining the League Two outfit on loan.
The 20-year-old has broadened his options in south Wales by playing in midfield as well as filling his usual defensive role.
He said: “Going out on loan is what I needed to do. I want to play in the Football League where on a Saturday or Tuesday everybody is fighting for three points.
“I’ve loved every minute at Newport and it’s helped me with sides of the game you don’t get in under-21s football.”
Matty Jones’ Wales side are using the Scotland friendly in Spain as preparation for the UEFA U21 European Championship 2025 qualifiers, which start in June.
Wales have been drawn against Denmark, Lithuania, Iceland and the Czech Republic.
Baker said: “It’s a tough group but we definitely think we can top it.
“We’ve used this camp to improve and get ready for the summer.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.