Sheffield Wednesday: Ash Baker on his Wales Under-21 call-up and the Owls' start to the season

Ash Baker has spoken of his pride at earning a maiden Wales Under-21 call-up.

Ash Baker has featured three times for the Owls this season
Ash Baker has featured three times for the Owls this season

The Owls defender linked up with Robert Page's squad on Sunday ahead of their forthcoming European Championship 2019 qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Portugal.

Baker said he was "over the moon" when he discovered Page had selected him.

"I was in the physio room doing my recovery work and my phone went off from the Welsh FA," he told The Star. "I had not had a one before so I was quite surprised. 

"I was capped once at U19s but that was it and I have not had any since.

"I'm a very proud Welshman so I was over the moon.

"Everyone wants to play for their country. As soon as I received the email, it was an honour to get a call-up."

Page's team host Liechtenstein at Bangor's Nantporth Stadium this Friday before entertaining Portugal at the same venue next Tuesday. The Under-21s sit fourth in Group B, eight points behind leaders Bosnia-Herzegovina and six adrift of second-placed Portugal.

Bridgend-born Baker added: "I know a couple of lads so hopefully I will settle in well and play."

Jos Luhukay, the Wednesday chief, is delighted with the progress Baker has made under his tutelage and expects international football to further speed up his development.

"The call-up is an experience for him and a good challenge," he said. "I think it gives him a lot of confidence."

Baker was plunged into the Owls' first-team at the end of last season, making his debut in their 5-1 demolition of Norwich City.

His whole-hearted, tigerish performances have earned him many plaudits and accolades, with Luhukay already starting him on three occasions this season.

"Everything has happened so quick," he acknowledged. "It has been good to start two league games and a cup game this season.

"I'm just trying to take it in my stride."

As for Wednesday, Luhukay's side are on the up after three consecutive league victories. Although they lie in mid-table after six matches, the Owls have made their best start to a second-tier campaign since 1990.

Baker said: "The three wins have given us a lot of confidnece going into the international break. The boys are flying and everyone is doing their job for the team.

"We have to keep it going and carry on working hard for each other. It is all about hard work."