George Baldock is seeing the fruits of his labour by becoming the best full-back in League 2, according to Dons boss Karl Robinson.
Baldock has been on loan at Oxford United this season and has played a huge role in The U’s climb to third in League 2.
And on Sunday, he helped Michael Appleton’s side to the giant killing of the FA Cup third round by knocking out Premier League outfit Swansea 3-2 at the Kassam Stadium.
Seen as third choice at right back behind Lee Hodson and Jordan Spence at the start of the campaign, Baldock was sent out on loan to get regular first team football in a position he is getting accustomed to, and he has done so with aplomb, becoming a fans favourite at Oxford.
And he’s impressing his manager back at MK1 too.
“George is showing everyone he’s one of the best full backs outside the Championship,” said Robinson. “He’s the best in League 2.”
But with his fine form comes rumour of a bid from Oxford during the transfer window, but Robinson says he has absolutely no intention of selling the 22-year-old.
He said: “What happens to him now will remain between the two boards, myself and Michael Appleton. But he’s definitely not being sold.”
Baldock started life at MK Dons as a central midfielder, but Robinson said he saw traits in the player that would suit him to being a right back.
Having now worked for two-and-a-half years to train Baldock into a new position, Robinson feels he is ready to compete with Spence and Hodson for the full-back position at stadium:mk.
He said: “Lee Hodson did very well on Saturday, but George Baldock looked fantastic at Oxford as well.
“I think Jordan has been outstanding this season, but if George and Lee are playing well, it brings out another 10 per cent in Jordan Spence.
“That’s the same in every position. It drives players on, and if they take his place in the side, so be it.
“We changed George’s position two and a half years ago. I just felt that was where he was going to play. There were elements of his game that just suited being a right back. He’s not the tallest, but he can physically compete.
“When we moved him to the wing, it took him time to adjust to only having half the pitch to work in. He needed to learn that.
“But we believed in him, sending him out on loan to learn his trade, is a good way of developing. We don’t pigeon hole players here, and we’ve done it differently with all these players. It’s about development, and George is flying at the moment.”