Baggott: My Best Season So Far, Hopefully It Won't Be Finished Tonight
Wednesday, 12th May 2021 10:15
He has been labelled ‘gold dust’ by his manager but Elkan Baggott is much too modest to be swayed by such high praise as he prepares for tomorrow’s FA Youth Cup semi-final clash with Liverpool at Portman Road.
The description is by no less a judge than U18 boss Adem Atay: “A tall, strapping left-footed centre-half, which is gold dust, hopefully he can go and give a performance that he’s proud of.”
Baggott, whose first professional contract – signed back in January – keeps him at Portman Road until the end of the 2022/23 season, said: “This has been my best season so far and hopefully it’s far from finished after Wednesday night.
“The perfect end would be to win and then go on to win the trophy. That would be the cherry on top and it’s something that I’m determined to help the team to achieve. We all feel the same and will be doing our very best to make it happen.
Baggott stands alone among his youth team colleagues because he has spent the past few weeks dividing his time between Town and National League outfit King’s Lynn, whom he joined on loan in March and has so far made half a dozen appearances.
One of them, a 4-2 defeat at Halifax, was broadcast live by BT Sport so he definitely won’t be fazed tomorrow when the same channel screens live action from the FA Youth Cup at Portman Road.
Baggott added: “I’ve only experienced being live on television once so I wouldn’t say I’m used to it yet, but it won’t come as a shock when I see all the cameras at the ground.
“I’m assuming it will be a similar set-up to how it was at Halifax. That was a bit of a wow moment when I saw them all around the ground so I’ll be a lot more chilled tomorrow.”
How has playing in the National League compared to playing in the FA Youth Cup for Town? He said: “It’s been very different and obviously we’ve had very different goals with King’s Lynn being towards the bottom of the National League and Ipswich trying to get as far as possible in the FA Youth Cup.
“It was always agreed between the clubs that I would be playing in the FA Youth Cup and as a group we’ve stuck together really well in getting this far.
“We’ve shown real character to come from behind and win games and it’s been an unbelievable journey, which is something that every single one of us can be proud of.
“As for King’s Lynn, I’ve learned a lot in the short time I’ve been there, especially in the first few games of being thrown into men’s football, which was something I’d never done before. It has been quite challenging but I think I’ve overcome it quite well to be fair.
“It has been a very different experience for me, one that I have taken on fully with both hands, and when I come back here for pre-season training I am sure I will have benefited from it. I would say the National League is a lot more physical than youth team football.
“They’re both tough and there are good players at both levels, and I think I’m getting better at making the transition between the two.
“I’m extremely grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had. But it has been quite a weird transition between the different age groups and teams, which has been completely new to me. But overall, yes, it has been a great season and one I feel I can be very proud of.”
Focusing on the immediate task of knocking out their Liverpool counterparts, Baggott continued: “This will be our biggest test so far. Liverpool is a big name in football, but it’s a game for which we have prepared properly and by that I mean the same as we’ve prepared for every one of our games so far.
“We won’t be looking at the names in their team and our objective is quite straightforward – we want to win and get to the final.”
Baggott was born in Thailand and lived there before moving to Indonesia, where his mother is from. His next journey was even longer and brought him to England, with the family setting up home in Colchester, but he has since moved to Ipswich. “My dad said he always wanted to live by the water,” he laughed.
“I joined the club at U14 level after being on trial for 10 weeks, so they took their time before I was asked to sign, and I’ve always been a central defender.
“With my mum being Indonesian I’m incredibly proud to be representing them. It was something I always wanted to do and having been capped at U19 level I want to go right through to senior international level if I can.
“Most of the training sessions we have out there are very technical based and coming through the academy here it has been quite similar. The training styles are not that different.”
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