Martin Smith column: Where does this leave Jose Baxter?
So what are we to make of Jose Baxter?
The 24-year-old Sheffield United striker has failed a second drugs test in ten months and is at risk of losing a career that started as brightly as any in the game.
Last year, he tested positive for the drug ecstasy saying he had had his drink spiked on a night out.
Baxter has not yet had chance to defend himself on a second failed test but where does this latest episode leave the player and Sheffield United?
Of course it could all be a fuss over nothing much.
Maybe a ‘B’ test - second blood and urine samples taken from the same test - will prove his innocence.
But of course there are those who would have kicked him out when he tested positive last April, who will be cursing the club’s lack of ‘backbone’ in dealing with him last time.
And there will be those who forgave the transgression last time on the grounds that it might happen to anybody.
But what must he think about the position he know finds himself in?
At the age of 16 years and 191 days the former Everton super-kid was the youngest player ever to start a Premier League game and the youngest to play for Everton beating club legends Howard Kendall, Wayne Rooney, and previous youngest James Vaughan.
Quite a trajectory for a talented scouse kid at the team he had been at since he was six years old.
If you were a footballer who needs to be clean in mind and body at all times to ensure you’re the fittest you can be and know you will be drug tested at short, random intervals and that one bad test could ruin your career AND that you’d already had one bad test how would you be feeling when you got the news of a second?
Baxter is only 24 and could still fulfil his early potential.
Could yet become the player he promised to be when he pulled the Everton first-team shirt on for the first time.
I’m sure that after serving a two month ban last year he’s sick of hearing how millions would have given anything to be as talented and had the chances he’s had in football.
But not as sick as he’s going to feel if a second positive result is confirmed.