BIDWELL’S MISSION TO BEND IT LIKE BAINES
Bees’ young defender is on his back way up
BY HIS own admission, Jake Bidwell couldn’t get anywhere near Leighton Baines while at Everton – not even in training.
Brentford’s left back may have been the Toffees’ academy player of the year in 2011, but breaking into the first team would have meant ousting England’s first-choice.
For Bidwell, the chance to see Baines at work first-hand, when the opportunity presented itself, was a privilege, but the former England U19 international knew he’d have to take a step back to reach that level.
A loan move to Brentford was made permanent ahead of this season and the 21-year-old has now cemented himself firmly as the Bees’ first choice.
Bidwell’s move was part of a larger plan to eventually work his way back to the top and, with Brentford’s promotion to the Championship now secure, the youngster is determined to take his chance to shine.
“For me, Everton was a fantastic place to ply my trade and learn and develop as a player,” said Bidwell.
“I didn’t get the chance to work with Leighton too much because I didn’t really break into the first team.
“But you don’t have to work with him to learn from him because he is so good and, for me, he is the best in the Premier League.
“He is England’s best left-back and has been for some time, so just being able to watch him was a great help to me.
“But, obviously, breaking through into the first team was going to be very difficult with him around because I don’t think he’s going anywhere for a while.
“There are a lot of very good young English left backs at the moment so it was important for me to come and get first-team experience.
“I’m only 21 and it was probably the next logical step for me to move on and concentrate on developing as a player.”
Bidwell was on loan at Brentford last season when Marcello Trotta’s infamous last-gasp penalty miss against Doncaster resulted in Rovers scoring on the break and meant the Bees missed out on an automatic promotion spot.
Defeat to Yeovil in the play-off final added to Brentford’s miseries but this season it has been a different story.
Promotion to the second tier after a 21-year exile was confirmed on Good Friday and it came as a bit of a shock for Bidwell.
“It was a great feeling to seal promotion and I don’t think we were expecting to do it on the Friday because we had to rely on results going our way,” he added.
“It’s incredible because ever since I arrived here it is what everyone at the club has been working towards.
“When you look at some of the teams that we will be playing and the great players that they have then it really is a big next step up.”
And according to Bidwell, credit for Brentford’s promotion should go to boss Mark Warburton, who took over from Uwe Rosler in December.
“The boss’ record speaks for itself. Since he’s taken over we’ve only been beaten a few times,” continued Bidwell.
“He has taken the club forward and we all believe he will continue to do that next season. He deserves all the credit he gets.”
DELIGHT: Jake Bidwell will play in the Championship next season. Inset: Bees fans celebrate with Clayton Donaldson