Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell feels on-loan Chelsea goalkeeper Nathan Baxter has been rewarded for his determination in completing his recovery from a dislocated shoulder.
Englishman Baxter made his return to action for County’s reserves against Greenock Morton on Tuesday, helping the Staggies triumph 4-1 at Cappielow.
The 21-year-old suffered the injury in July prior to the start of the Premiership campaign, just weeks after completing his temporary move, and Kettlewell has been impressed with Baxter’s character in the months since.
Kettlewell said: “He comes from a big club where he’s very highly thought of. He’s a lad who just wants to go out and play football as much as he can.
“We can see in his nature, he is just champing at the bit.
“He has been in constant contact with us since he went back to Chelsea injured.
“It would be very easy just to sit down at a massive club like Chelsea through recovery, but he has really been pushing the boundaries to get back as quickly as possible.
“Undoubtedly, it strengthens the goalkeeping department for us and gives another option in that area.”
Baxter will now compete with Ross Laidlaw and Jack Ruddy for the gloves, with Kettlewell confident he will put his association with the Stamford Bridge outfit on the backburner during his season-long stint with the Staggies.
Kettlewell added: “It really captured our imagination when we first met him that he could have settled to be Chelsea’s number three, but he wants to be out playing. I think he played almost every game with Yeovil last year.
“One of the things he said coming in was, he is a Ross County player for this period of time. As much as he’s got a parent club, he doesn’t think too much about that.
“The focus is on doing well at the loan club he’s at. It probably comes with the territory when you play for such a big club and you’re highly regarded there. Those are the handles you have to deal with at times.
“We’ve all seen players come from big clubs and there’s a bit of an ego there and a feeling of being better than the club they’re at.
“We certainly don’t have that with Nathan.”