Peterborough wanted 'better players' but Jack Baldwin is tipped to thrive at a higher level for Sunderland

The noises from Peterborough were more than a touch contradictory.

Monday, 1st October 2018, 7:12 pm
Updated Monday, 1st October 2018, 7:22 pm
Jack Baldwin has made a big impression on Sunderland boss Jack Ross

Manager Steve Evans transfer listed Jack Baldwin and said 'he hasn't had a good season and it is time to move on'.

Many Posh fans seemed to agree, but there was no disguising their respect and affection for the centre-back.

On twitter, Chairman Darragh MacAnthony admitted he had concerns about losing the talented 25-year-old.

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Months later, Evans moved to pay tribute to Baldwin shortly before he left for Wearside.

"Jack Baldwin is the perfect professional.

"I knew that when I placed him on the transfer list at the end of last season and nothing he’s done this summer has made my change my mind.

"Jack is a special man, but I had to make a decision for footballing reasons and I felt I could find better players."

In fairness to Evans, an outstanding start to the season has vindicated his decision to overhaul the Peterborough squad. His 'main man' Ryan Tofazolli has been excellent and new signing Rhys Bennett has impressed.

Perhaps a fresh start was needed for both parties.

There is no doubting that Sunderland have been major beneficiaries.

Baldwin has been superb, not without errors but classy on the ball and tenacious off it.

For the manager and recruitment team he ticked so many boxes. Experienced but with room to improve, an understanding of the North East and the importance of the club.

A sizeable but sensible investment.

Jack Ross has been thrilled and sees a big future.

"I’ve been really pleased with Jack, he’s such a nice young man as well.

"He’s quite driven and ambitious, and he’s played an awful lot of games for a young man.

"His performance levels have been very good. He’s one of those in the category that we brought in, a player who can help us win promotion but who we also feel could actually come with us on the whole journey.

"He’s still young, he makes mistakes at times but his general play, his commitment, his quality on the ball, is very good.

"He’s playing on his wrong side in effect, but he’s shown he’s quite happy using his left foot as well, playing out.

"He’ll make mistakes because he’s taking on the responsibility to do that but that’s why I don’t mind if he shanks one now and again," Ross added.

"You can’t ask him to play and then be on his case. Defensively he can be a little too honest, he wants to do his job so well, we talked a bit about the first goal on Saturday and getting in a position that he can always defend from, but that’s just the learning experience for him.

"Players in that position usually get better and better as they mature. I’ve been delighted with him, to deal with the pressures of playing here, he’s done remarkably well."

The season may be just ten games old but this looks like it may be the rarest of deals, one that suits all parties.