Jack’s the lad to go to the top

Jack Baldwin
Jack Baldwin

JAMES Poole may have lost close pal Jack Baldwin as his room-mate for the trip to Holland – but he is still backing the teenager to make it to the “highest level” of the English game.

Poole is well placed to pass such judgment, given his graduation from the famed Platt Lane Academy of Manchester City.

He also shares a flat with Baldwin in Hartlepool Marina and knows that the talented teen has all of the characteristics to go as far as he wishes in the game.

And, despite Baldwin jumping ship to room with Peter Hartley during the Dutch tour, Poole still predicted the brightest of futures for the unflappable defender when he spoke to SportMail in Holland today.

“I realised the first few times I watched him play that he had everything,” said the 22-year-old.

“He’s been told he can play at the highest level and I think he will do. But most importantly he’s got the attitude to do that.

“You forget that he’s only 18. You watch him and think he’s been playing professional football for about 10 years.”

Poole soon took rookie Baldwin under his wing 12 months ago when the southerner, having been all set to go to university, landed a professional contract with Pools.

And he will continue to help the former sixth-form student whenever possible.

“I learn from the older lads and how they conduct themselves and I’d like to hope that I can help Jack,” added Poole.

“He has come from a completely different background and environment.

“I’m with him a lot of the time and I want to help him.

“But he’s settled in with no problems at all and that showed by how well he did last season.

“He’s just such a nice lad as well that I think everyone wants to see him go as far as he can.”

Baldwin will this season be vying for a place at the heart of the defence having impressed in that role towards the back end of last term.

And Poole went on: “The most important thing for him is to kick on this year.

“He’s excited to be back and I think he wants to hit the ground running.

“Hopefully we can be part of the team together.

“We know each other well and that can help on the pitch because you don’t want to let your mates down.”.