Carl Baker: “Not coming out there to make up the numbers”
Defending champions Atlético de Kolkata (ATK) bolstered their midfield by signing former Coventry City and Portsmouth playmaker Carl Baker. The 34-year-old Englishman was also an instrumental figure in helping Milton Keynes Dons win promotion to the Football League Championship during the 2014-15 season. He was consequently voted the club’s Player of the Year by the fans that year. At ATK, he unites with fellow Englishmen in the form of head coach Teddy Sheringham, technical director Ashley Westwood, and former Coventry City teammate Conor Thomas. A product of the Liverpool Academy, Baker took time to speak to indiansuperleague.com and share his thoughts about his next venture.
Baker praised the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) and was looking forward to plying his trade for ATK in the upcoming season.
“I’ve done a lot of research on the ISL. I’m expecting a good standard of football in a competitive league and I have heard a lot of good things about India and the ISL. So, I am very excited to experience it,” he asserted.
What made him choose to join the ISL? The player was quick to point out the influence of Sheringham.
“I wanted a new challenge and after a phone call with Teddy Sheringham where he explained his plans, I knew this was what I wanted to be a part of,” he revealed while adding that he had high expectations playing under the ATK head coach.
“Teddy was a great player and I’m sure he will have a great career as a manager,” Baker said. “I think he will be organized, want to pass the ball but also be attack-minded.”
Standing tall at almost 6’2”, the footballer was also open to the idea of playing in different roles on the field.
“I’ve played in all systems over the years under different managers, so I don’t really have a preference. I’m an attacking midfielder who can play centrally, left or right, so I’m happy to play in any of them.”
Baker is also eagerly anticipating the opportunity to play alongside Robbie Keane and fellow Englishman and former teammate Conor Thomas.
“Growing up as a Liverpool fan, I know a lot about Robbie Keane. He’s a great player who scores great goals, so to play alongside him will be personally great for me. I know Conor very well as we have played for Coventry FC together and we live only 20 minutes apart from each other. It will be great to have a friendly face out there and someone who will be in the same situation as myself.”
Baker was also very clear about what he wants to achieve at his new club.
“I’m not coming out there to make up the numbers. I want to be successful, I want to play regularly and have a big part in helping ATK regain the trophy,” he said confidently at the close of the interview.
The 2017-18 season of Hero Indian Super League kicks off on November 17. Stay tuned to our website and social channels for the latest updates.