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Darling in: As things stand, is this Swansea City’s best XI as 22/23 season approaches?

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Championship outfit Swansea City will be desperate to push their way up the table following a mixed first season under the stewardship of Russell Martin.

Perhaps their finish in the bottom half was expected considering they completely switched their playing style shortly before the 2021/22 campaign, giving the squad a very limited amount of time to adapt before they were in league action.

With a full pre-season of football under their belt with Martin, new signings coming in and those surplus to requirements likely to be on their way out, expectations are likely to rise at the Swansea.com Stadium in the coming months.

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Considering the success of his predecessor, with Steve Cooper managing to guide the Swans to consecutive play-off finishes before his departure, anything less than a top-half finish may be unacceptable at this point with some of the players they have at their disposal.

Whether some of their prized assets in Flynn Downes and Joel Piroe will remain at the club beyond the summer remains to be seen – but they remain in South Wales at this stage and both undoubtedly get into the second-tier side’s best lineup.

And we have picked the nine other players who also deserve a place in Martin’s first 11.

Already accustomed to Martin’s way of playing, Andy Fisher simply has to be the man between the sticks, with Steven Benda unlikely to overtake him in the pecking order and Ben Hamer leaving on the expiration of his contract.

Although new signing Matthew Sorinola often plays on the left, he starts on the right-hand side instead and that makes room for Ryan Manning, who can be a real asset going forward on his day.

Joel Latibeaudiere was another option – but having players that are more used to playing out wide would be beneficial with attacking contributions needed from the wing-backs.

The centre-back situation is a tough one – but Ryan Bennett probably doesn’t get into this lineup and it remains to be seen whether Kyle Naughton plays regularly as well.

But in a bid to freshen up their defence, with their backline proving to be poor at times last term, both Harry Darling and Nathan Wood come in alongside Welshman Ben Cabango.

The rest of the team effectively picks itself with Downes and captain Matt Grimes forming a decent partnership in the middle of the park last term, with Flynn Downes potentially moving on this summer.

And there’s just one advanced midfielder in this system as Jamie Paterson looks to build on a promising 2021/22 season, contributing heavily both in terms of goals and assists. He will be hoping to kick on after committing his future to the Swans.

Up top, Joel Piroe partners Michael Obafemi with the latter getting into his groove after suffering a poor start to last season. Piroe, meanwhile, is a man in demand so it will be interesting to see whether the Welsh side can retain him.


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Darling in: As things stand, is this Swansea City’s best XI as 22/23 season approaches?

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