Bees’ young de­fender is on his back way up

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Mar­ios Pa­paloizou

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.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

DE­LIGHT: Jake Bidwell will play in the Cham­pi­onship next sea­son. In­set: Bees fans cel­e­brate with Clay­ton Don­ald­son

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