Position: Left Winger/Striker
Date of Birth: February 7th 1992
Place of Birth: Liverpool, England
Previous Club(s): None
Danny Cadamarteri. Michael Branch. Phil Jevons. Francis Jeffers. Wayne Rooney. Victor Anichebe. James Vaughan. Everton have produced a fair share of strikers in the last fifteen years, from the wildly successful high of Rooney to the disappointing failure of Branch. Next in line to prove himself is Jose Baxter, a short but powerful and skilled striker-cum-winger who some at the club rate better than Rooney at comparable ages.
At the club since the tender age of six, Jose – an unusual name for an English lad admittedly – has scored freely for every Everton academy age group, whilst representing England at each increment too. He was a key part and captain of the Three Lions’ 2007 Victory Shield win, leading the line with bullish aggression and slick skill. He scored his first Under-18 goal for the Toffees aged only 14, becoming the club’s record goalscorer at that level.
With Everton’s trend for producing and developing attacking players, and rarely making a splash in the transfer market, the chances of Jose breaking into the squad at a young age were always quite high, and even if the club hadn’t have suffered a massive injury crisis, the chances of the youngster breaking the club’s record for youngest player were still high, which he duly did in August of 2008. Expect to see a lot more from this boy.
On the opening day of the 2008/09 season, Baxter became the youngest player to ever represent Everton, aged 16 years and 191 days. The club, already with a thin squad, suffered a pre-season injury crisis, meaning a bench full of youngsters. Baxter was the one to receive the call and didn’t look out of place – earning a first senior start the week after away to West Brom. He had a glorious chance to score his first goal but failed to take it, and once the injured Toffees returned, Baxter duly went back Reserve team duty and continued his development.
An impressive season with the second string and on international duty with England earned him a two-and-a-half-year deal with Everton shortly after turning 17.