Hooker Scott Baldwin will get to taste 'La Dolce Vita' over the next few weeks, after completing a loan switch to Italian club ASR Milano.
The 23-year old, who has made six Ospreys appearances, has joined the Serie A1 club for a six week period, a move designed to allow him to develop his personal skills on and off the field, and to become more self sufficient.
He moves to club that has an ongoing partnership with the region, which has already seen Italian duo Marco Ferrari and Simone Ragusi spend time with the Ospreys, while the region has hosted training camps in Milan, with both organisations also sharing and exchanging technical and commercial expertise.
Baldwin travelled with the Ospreys to Treviso last weekend, meeting up with Milano management at the team hotel before travelling south to his new home post-match, where he is now settling in for his short loan period.
Speaking about the temporary move to Milano, Baldwin said:
“Being a local boy I’ve always lived within the Ospreys region. I’ve never really lived on my own and this will is the first time for me to be looking after myself so I’m excited about it but at the same time nervous about the challenge ahead. More excited than nervous really.
“I’ve only really had a brief introduction to the club, spoken to a few people about it and met the people from the Milan club at the team hotel in Treviso at the weekend. It’s a family oriented club, which will make it easier to settle in. It’s not a professional team, so obviously coming in here as a full-time professional there’ll be expectation on me to help drive the team and to be a leader within the squad.”
Director of Coaching, Scott Johnson, said the Baldwin loan was part of a wider initiative that he hopes will ultimately produce players who are more self reliant and able to think for themselves, on and off the pitch:
“It’s about giving players more life experience, helping them to become more rounded individuals. This will in turn lead to players who are able to become more self reliant and less dependent on others in all areas of their lives, and ultimately this should impact on performance as they take responsibility for their actions and don’t leave things to chance, or to others.
“We are encouraging all our players to be more self reliant, but understandably, it’s more of a thing with younger guys who maybe don’t have the same life experiences. We are trying a number of ways to encourage them to become more self sufficient, and because of our relationship with ASR Milano, Scott now has a wonderful opportunity to experience something completely new to him that should stand him in good stead for the future.”
Having to deal with the language barrier, as well as fending for himself in his temporary home, Baldwin hopes that he’s going to develop in a number of ways during his time in Milan.
“The big challenge for me will be the cultural change” he said.
“A lot of people out here speak basic English but me, I don’t really speak Italian. I’ve tried to pick up a few phrases since I knew I was coming here but there’s going to have to be a real learning curve for me.
“The set-piece is a massive part of my game, being a hooker, and communications is crucial so it’s going to be difficult but it’s a challenge that will hopefully benefit me in the long run. While I’m here, hopefully I’ll be able to develop leadership skills, through my actions rather than words.
“In many ways I’ve been chucked in at the deep end so that the coaches can see how I react, and how I cope with the challenges that have been set for me. Obviously, living on my own I’m going to have to fend for myself, cook, financially I’ll have to sort myself out. It’s all things that are new to me. It’s a big lifestyle challenge for, to become more self sufficient on a day-to-day basis. I’m looking forward to it, to see how I cope, and hopefully, it will be a beneficial six weeks for me.”