BARKER: DEFENDER ALEX CAN GO FULL WAY
Evening Post, 7 April 2005
Mansfield Town striker Richie Barker says Stags defender Alex John-Baptiste has the potential to play in the Premiership.
"We've got a good young squad now," said Barker. "If you take me out, the average age of our outfield players is about 21.
"You've got players like Bap, Callum and Bucko who have come through the youth team and Bap is one of the best defenders in League Two.
"He was captain at 18 and I hope he listens to the right people. He should be looking to play in the Premiership. I'm pretty sure that if the chance came for him to do that, the chairman would not stand in his way.
"You've only got to look at Liam Lawrence to see what can be achieved.
"He was playing in Division Three last season and it looks like he will be playing in the Premiership next season.
"Everyone remembers what Alan Hansen said about not being able to win anything with kids - and he was proved wrong.
"You need a few experienced players too and there are experienced players as well as youngsters at Mansfield.
"There are several young players at Mansfield who can go on to make a very good living out of football. It's up to the individuals, though.
"There's no reason why Stags can't be another Rotherham or Crewe.
"I've been there with Rotherham and it is possible to be successful without spending loads of money. You just need the right set-up and the right team spirit. The most Rotherham have ever paid for a player is £150,000, they paid that for Tony Towner from Millwall back in 1980.
"But they've got good money for players - Cardiff paid £850,000 for Alan Lee two years ago.
"Our short-term goal has to be getting into League One and establishing ourselves in that division."
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