'He's got to be pushing next year' - Walton impressed with Baggott
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Star stopper Christian Walton believes young defender Elkan Baggott can make a push for the Ipswich Town first team next season.
The 19-year-old centre-back made his senior debut towards the end of last season, stepping in for Cameron Burgess to impress at left centre-back in the televised defeat at Rotherham United.
And he was again part of the Town backline in the final game of the season, helping the Blues keep a clean sheet in an impressive 4-0 win over Charlton.
The Blues have a fairly set-in-stone starting line-up at the back, with Janoi Donacien, Luke Woolfenden and George Edmundson expected to start when fit.
Behind them, Burgess and returning loanee Corrie Ndaba figure to be the back-ups as it stands, but Walton believes Baggott, an Indonesian international, is good enough to be in the mix.
"He was calm throughout the (Rotherham) game, didn't look flustered, so for him he can take massive confidence from that and I think he's got to be pushing next year to be in and around it, pushing the lads that are in front of him," Walton said.
"At 19-years-old he's big, good stature. I was pleased for him and I think all the other boys were too because we can see how well he's done and how hard he's worked.
"It's good for the club too, to have an academy graduate come through and play in a game like that."
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While Baggott will have the summer to play his way into Kieran McKenna's plans for next season, a loan to a League Two side could well be on the cards - the same path that Ndaba took last season at Salford City and Woolfenden did at Swindon in 2018/19.
“That’s a good possibility and something that we’ve spoken about with Elkan personally,” McKenna said, discussing the opportunity for Baggott to head out on loan.
“That’s one good option for a young centre-half. Picking up a full season of regular starts can be a big step in your development, as we’ve seen with many centre-halves over the years.
"Luke Woolfenden is an easy-to-make an example in terms of his experience of going out to Swindon and getting a full season.
“That’s definitely one really good possibility for Elkan, but it needs to be the right club, the right environment and all the right aspects need to fit together for it to be the right experience for Elkan, and if we find that then the possibility of him getting a year’s experience somewhere is definitely one we’re looking at.”