JACK Baldwin remains convinced that his best position is at the heart of the defence – but he admits the midfield minefield of the lower leagues have provided invaluable experience.
The 19-year-old arrived at the club two summers ago as a rookie defender straight out of sixth form.
Very quickly, however, he established himself in the first-team set-up, senior pros duly waxing lyrical about the mild-mannered southerner.
Baldwin has not looked back and was last season arguably one of the team’s better performers, winning a regular spot in midfield under former manager John Hughes.
That attracted interest from several Championship and Premier League clubs – including neighbours Middlesbrough – but the player himself maintains that his long-term vocation will be at centre-back.
“I’d still say my best position is at the back,” Baldwin told SportMail.
“That’s the position I grew up playing and when I signed it was first and foremost as a defender.
“When I’ve played there I feel I’ve done well.
“I can learn so much from Sam (Collins) and Peter (Hartley) because it’s a partnership and you’ve got to talk each other through things.
“In midfield it’s a bit different, you’ve got to learn things a little bit by yourself, sometimes though mistakes because it is so quick at times.
“But even then I’d like to think I’ve done well and I was really pleased with some of my performances in there.
“If people are saying I’m doing well in there then I’m happy.
“I’m still young so everything – every second – is about learning and improving.”
Baldwin will return to Maiden Castle later this month hoping to cement his place in the team ahead of the League Two campaign.
And he added: “I’m lucky to have had a good run of games.
“But I can’t take anything for granted, I’ve got to work even harder to stay in the team.
“Whether that’s in defence or midfield I’m not too fussed at this stage, it’s all about playing games and helping the team to do well.”