Jose Baxter: New Plymouth Argyle forward keen to show how he has matured

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Jose Baxter
Jose Baxter played a full campaign with Oldham last season having come back from a drugs ban

Jose Baxter says he is keen to show how he has changed after agreeing to join League Two side Plymouth Argyle.

The 27-year-old has signed a short-term deal after leaving Oldham in May.

Baxter returned to football with Oldham a year ago after two years away having twice failed drugs tests while at Sheffield United.

"I'm more hungry than ever, a lot wiser, more mature on and off the field and a lot of things have changed," he told BBC Sport.

Baxter, who was Everton's youngest ever first-team player when he made his debut aged 16, was banned in 2015 after a failed drugs test and released by the Blades a year later.

But he has since talked of how he has turned his life around following the birth of his daughter and the influence of Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, who brought him back to his boyhood club two years ago to aid his recovery.

"I'm still 27 years of age, I've got a long time in the game," added Baxter, who scored four goals in 34 games for Oldham last season.

"So although I'm classed as a senior pro I like to think I'm a little bit younger than that, and with the two years out I had I like to always think I'm 25 and not 27,"

'He's over his demons'

I can use my drugs ban as a positive - Jose Baxter

Newly-appointed Plymouth manager Ryan Lowe has followed Baxter's career closely since he was a youngster - the pair both coming from Liverpool and having mutual friends.

The former Bury manager says he can be a big influence on his plans to get Argyle promoted straight back to the third tier.

"He's a Premiership footballer," Lowe said. "When a premiership footballer's brain and talent comes and says he wants to come and play for us then that was a no-brainer for me.

"Yes he's signed a short-term deal, but I'm looking to extend that deal beyond very soon because he's come down and knocked other League Two clubs back for us.

"He was a fantastic talent last season for Oldham Athletic, he was the best player for them when he was fit and playing, but it's our duty of care to him now to get a Jose Baxter fit and firing on all cylinders.

"Yes he's had his demons, but he's over that.

"If we get Jose Baxter firing on all cylinders I guarantee he'll be one of the best players in League Two," Lowe added.

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