Indonesian international defender hoping to do his part as Gills look to have a competitive Sky Bet League 2 season.
With a colossal 1.2 million Instagram followers, towering defender Elkan Baggott, 19, has instantly become one of Gillingham’s most well-known footballers of all time.
Born in Thailand to a British father and an Indonesian mother, Baggott was raised in England but chose to represent the Indonesian national team, the country where he first learnt to play football.
With clubs higher up the food chain rumoured to be circling, Gillingham look to have pulled off a real coup ahead of the 2022/23 Sky Bet League Two campaign, and Baggott is aiming big.
“The target, for myself and the team collectively, is to try and get back up to League One,” said the on loan summer recruit from Ipswich. “I’m very happy to be here. I’m just trying to get as many games under my belt, improve myself and hopefully help the club out as well.
“It was a first-day-at-school type feel but I have met all the lads and they have been very welcoming. I already feel at home. There is a really good vibe in the camp and the players are all on the same page.
“The conversations I had with the manager helped me decide on joining; he was really good and supportive. Gillingham are a massive size for this league so that was another attraction. I’m hoping to play lots of games.”
Baggott, who has previously shared his admiration for role models Virgil van Dijk and Rio Ferdinand, looks like he is cut from the same cloth - tall, tough, and vocal.
“As a defender I am not afraid to make a tackle,” he said. “I like to get on the ball and I am composed. I like to start and help build attacks and feed the ball to the midfield and strikers.”
The defender has the distinction of being the first player from Indonesia to play in an English professional match (when he stepped out for the Tractor Boys against Gillingham) and speaking with him it is clear that representing his country means everything to him.
“It’s quite an unsung nation,” he reflected. “Not a lot of people know how passionate and supportive all the fans are out there. I really love playing and representing my country.
“My mum is from Indonesia and playing for the national team is always something I have wanted to do. I wanted to represent my mum’s country. When the opportunity came up I took it with both hands.
“But right now I’m looking forward to the first game of the season for Gillingham. It’s a shame it’s away, but I am really looking forward to it. Our objective is to start on the best foot we can. So we will go there (AFC Wimbledon on the opening day) looking to win.”