Arriving on loan from Chelsea, Lewis Baker became Reading’s second signing of the summer on Wednesday afternoon. However, it’s not his only experience in the Championship. The 23 year-old spent the first half of the campaign at league-leaders Leeds United, but was brought back early by his parent club after not getting enough minutes.
To find out why that was the case, and what else we should know about the young midfielder, we spoke to Pete Schlenker of fellow SB Nation site Thru It All Together. A big thanks to him for taking the time out, and make sure to check them out here.
How would you sum up his time at Leeds?
Not great. He came in on loan back in August, and he’s barely played, despite a number of injuries, and when he did get a chance to play, he never really impressed. Jack usually does our player ratings, and I don’t think he gave Baker anything more than a five.
What style of player is he?
He was often tasked to play as the number 10/enganche role in Marcelo Bielsa’s 4-1-4-1/ 3-3-1-3 formation, and he never really excelled at it. He often seemed to be unable to unlock the defence and his passing wasn’t decisive. He also tended to give the ball away far, far more often than you’d be comfortable with a player at this level doing.
What are his main strengths and weaknesses?
He’s got good physical tools and it seemed that Marcelo Bielsa honestly liked him as a player and wanted to keep him before Chelsea recalled him to get more playing time. He gives the ball away far too often for the comfort of most Leeds fans.
He’s played brilliantly at Vitesse Arnhem, but hasn’t translated that on loans to either Middlesbrough or Leeds. As Jack put it in his player ratings from Leeds’ 2-1 FA Cup defeat at Queens Park Rangers:
“Lewis Baker - Well struck free-kick which was parried to Halme’s feet for the equaliser. In truth though, the free-kick was down the keepers throat and should not have been parried. Sloppy in possession and gave the ball away in dangerous areas. Shows nice touches at times to show he has natural talent but isn’t doing nearly enough with it.”
What’s his character like?
Never heard a negative peep out of him, despite not playing. Seems to be well-liked by the other players, and sounds like he’ll be missed at the club, despite the lack of playing time.
On the whole, is he a good signing for Reading?
He’s got all the tools to be a good player, so maybe all he needs is consistent playing time. He certainly got it at Vitesse, where he was brilliant and the club won trophies, but he hasn’t gotten consistent playing time at either Leeds or Boro.