Lewis Baker: Who is Fortuna Düsseldorf's Chelsea loanee midfielder?
Fortuna Düsseldorf have completed the loan signing - with the option to buy - of former England U21 midfielder Lewis Baker from Chelsea - but what's his story? bundesliga.com has the skinny...
Club: Fortuna Düsseldorf (on loan from Chelsea)
Country: England (45 youth international caps)
Baker has been with Chelsea since the age of nine, with the 5'10" midfielder working his way through the academy, before making the step up to the reserves in 2012/13. He captained the side during their run to the NextGen semi-finals, collecting the Player of the Tournament prize along the way. His reward was a place on the first-team substitutes' bench for the 2-0 Capital One Cup win over Swindon Town in September 2013, although it was four months before he made his senior debut in the FA Cup third round.
Baker was named Chelsea Young Player of the Year 2013/14 following some eye-catching displays for the U19s and U21s. He scored the winning goal to clinch the Barclays U21 Premier League title against Manchester United, and also won the Goal of the Season prize, voted for by fans, for his back-heel strike away to Arsenal.
A long-term contract in the bag, Baker was promoted to the Chelsea first team for the first half of the 2014/15 campaign, but spent the second part of the season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday and MK Dons, winning promotion from League 1 with the latter. He later moved to Dutch outfit Vitesse, where he registered 20 goals and 17 assists in 73 appearances, and helped the club lift the 2016/17 KNVB Cup.
Baker's temporary stint in Holland was littered with career highlights. He set a season record for most chances created in a single game (nine); scooped the club's 2015/16 Goal of the Season prize for his long-range rocket against De Graafschap; scored in four successive games between September and October 2017; and grabbed both goals in the Dutch cup semi-final against Sparta Rotterdam to send Vitesse into their first final in 27 years.
The former U16, 17, 19, 20 and 21 England international - who captained his country at U20 level, and was awarded the Golden Boot as the U21s won the 2016 Toulon Tournament - has spent the last two seasons back in the English Championship with Middlesbrough, Leeds United and, most recently, Reading. He scored one goal and provided one assist in his 30 league outings in 2018/19, making 19 starts.
Plays a bit like: Frank Lampard
A two-footed creative midfielder with an eye for the spectacular, Baker certainly has a touch of Chelsea's legendary midfielder and current head coach, Frank Lampard about him. He scored all manner of worldies for Vitesse, as well as some cheeky lobbed efforts after arriving in the box from deep. Much like they were for 'Super Frank, Super Goals Lampard', postage stamp free-kicks and penalties are another big part of his repertoire.
Did you know?
Baker didn't just have a Dutch Cup and monster YouTube highlight reel to show for his time in the Netherlands with Vitesse. His goals-per-game average was pretty impressive, too: one in three three from central midfield, one in four from attacking midfield, and one in two from defensive midfield.
What they're saying
"My conscience tells me that if, for example, Baker [is] not a national team player in a few years, I should blame myself" - former Chelsea coach, Jose Mourinho
"He's one of the hardest working players I've ever worked with" - former MK Dons coach, Karl Robinson
"Seeing different cultures and the way players live with different playing styles. It can all just help you as a professional and add little bits to your game." - Baker on playing abroad
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