Mitchel Bakker, PSG
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One to watch: Mitchel Bakker, PSG's first-choice left-back?

Publish on 29/10/2020 at 21:48

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He may have Layvin Kurzawa for company at Paris Saint-Germain, but with Juan Bernat injured, 20-year-old Dutchman Mitchel Bakker is making a strong case to be considered the champions' first-choice left-back.

This time last year, Bakker was four months into his PSG career without a senior appearance to his name. Now, with Bernat having suffered a torn cruciate ligament, he has been thrust into the limelight, starting six of a possible eight Ligue 1 Uber Eats games for Thomas Tuchel's side.

 

Bakker now has two assists and five clean sheets to his name, as well as a 2020 Golden Boy nomination alongside French top-flight colleagues Eduardo Camavinga of Stade Rennais FC and LOSC'S Jonathan David, but what else there to know about the talented left-footer?

 

Back story:

 

Born in Purmerend in North Holland in June 2000, Bakker shares a hometown with Martin Koeman - the father of Barcelona manager Ronald and his elder brother Erwin. Like Ronald in the early 1980s, Bakker was soon making the half-hour journey south to Dutch giants Ajax, whom he first joined at the age of 10.

 

His progress through the Jong Ajax ranks was swift. Bakker was already playing with the record Dutch champions' reserves at 17, and after helping the Under-19s to two age group Eridivisie titles and making a handful of senior appearances in the KNVB Cup, Paris bagged their man at the start of the 2019-20 campaign.

 

Mitchel Bakker, PSG 

 

Style of play:

 

Rather like Ronaldo Koeman the player, Bakker has an impressive combination of steel and silk. Standing at 6'1", the youngster has the physical profile of a centre-back, but his composure in possession and wicked left-footed deliveries mean that he is also a fine attacking asset from out wide. His height means he can also meet crosses into the box from the opposite flank.

 

Current campaign

 

Bakker started the opening-day 1-0 win over FC Metz and although he made way for Bernat just past the hour mark in that game, he has enjoyed more than 500, nearly-uninterrupted, Ligue 1 Uber Eats minutes since. Pinpoint crosses for Julian Draxler in the 6-1 destruction of Angers SCO and Moise Kean in the 4-0 win over Dijon FCO underline how quickly Bakker has settled into the first-team frame.

 

Watch: Bakker helps Kean open his PSG account against Dijon

 

 

What they said

 

"Firstly, I'd like to play as often as possible and I'm going to do everything I can to deserve time on the pitch. I'm a rather attacking left-back. I'm quick and solid, those are my main qualities, and I hope to show them here."

Bakker on swapping Ajax for PSG last year

 

"If you're referring to the Oranje [the Netherlands national team] then I certainly dare to think big; why not? On the other hand, I only made my Under-21 debut against Belarus [a 7-0 win] a month ago. I have to concentrate on that level first."

 

Bakker trying to temper excitement - somewhat - about a potential Netherlands debut