MK Dons boss Paul Ince has backed striker Sam Baldock to do his Club proud at this month’s FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt and use the experience to hit the ground running when he returns to Milton Keynes.
While his team-mates take on League One leaders Leeds United at Stadiummk on Saturday, 20 year old Baldock hopes to be part of the England team that takes on Uruguay in their opening game of the tournament in Ismailia.
Ince, who is no stranger to the international arena (having made over 50 appearances for his country at senior level, several as England captain,) believes that the youngster should make the most of a golden opportunity.
Speaking to the MK Dons official website, he said:
“It’s the best feeling you can have as a player, to represent your country, it doesn’t matter at what level it is. My son did it at 17 and it was the proudest moment of my life as a Dad, so for Sam to do it is a very proud moment for the Club.
“Obviously we’re going to miss him while he’s away, but we’re absolutely over the moon for him to have this opportunity. It’s great for Sam.”
“Sam’s not been fully fit since we got back here, but we know from the first time we were here that he is a talented young player and he scored some important goals for the team last season.
“Hopefully he can use his time away with England to get some match minutes under his belt, then when he comes back to Milton Keynes he’ll be available to us and ready to push for a place in our first team.”
For the youngster, who has come through the Don’s Apprenticeship programme, an appearance for the Three Lions represents a dream come true:
“It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’ll be a dream come true to pull on an England shirt and sing the national anthem. I suppose the ultimate dream is to do it for the senior team, but even with the Under-20s it will be a very proud moment if I get the chance.”
And Baldock says the chance to wear the famous Three Lions will be a proud moment in his fledgling career:
“There will be teams involved from all over the world, different styles, different cultures and different people – so it’s going to be a great experience.”
bw. “One thing you can be sure of is that no team or player will want to lose so it’s going to be competitive and hopefully we can progress.”
England kick-off their FIFA Under-20 World Cup campaign in Group D against Uruguay in Ismailia on Saturday 26th September.