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Steve Cooper believes this Swansea City player has ‘a lot of improving to do’



Swansea City’s Ben Cabango has signed a new contract with the club this week, and boss Steve Cooper feels he’s made a lot of progress this season, but that there’s much more still to come.

Cabango, 19, has had his breakthrough season with Swansea. A product of the club’s youth academy, the Welshman has made 13 league appearances for the Swans this season, and has even featured for the Wales U21 side.

He’s proved to be reliable cover for the likes of Mike van der Hoorn and Joe Rodon this season, who’ve both endured spells on the sidelines, and the club have this week rewarded Cabango with an extension to his contract which will see him remain at the Liberty Stadium until 2023.

Speaking to about Cabango’s season so far, Cooper didn’t hold back the praise:

“We’ve been delighted with Ben’s progress. We quickly realised in pre-season that he was a player with potential, so we got him into the first-team programme as quickly as possible with a view to give him opportunities in League Cup games.

“Every opportunity he has had, he’s taken with both hands. It’s one thing giving an opportunity, it’s another taking it.”

This time last season, Cabango was a member of the Swansea City development squad, and was unaware of when or if he’d break into the first-team.

But he’s certainly done that this season – he’s a composed centre-half who’s a really physical player, and the fans have quickly warmed to him.

“He has had a baptism of fire in senior football here,” continued Cooper. “He came on to make his league debut at half-time at Huddersfield, while he played in the derby at Cardiff alongside Ben Wilmot – a 19-year-old and 20-year-old partnership in central defence.

“He’s also had physical challenges to deal with in the form of a hernia problem, which he’s had to manage, while he’s been in and out of the first team.”

Swansea have a number of young talents on the rise. Cooper was appointed for his previous successes working with the England youth sides – most notably winning the U17 World Cup in 2017 – and in his first season in South Wales he’s made good progress with several players.

The likes of Rodon who looks set to make the club a lot of money one day, whilst the incoming loan players have all performed and all look happy playing under Cooper.

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“It was important to get him tied down to a longer contract,” Cooper said of Cabango. “It allows us to continue improving him. He has got a lot of improving to do, and we want to maximise his potential and talent.

“He’s an exciting player, and another Welsh player to come through the academy which everyone loves to see, but there is a lot more hard work ahead.”

Before the football was postponed last week, Cabango had started the last four games for Swansea. They’d lost just one of those four as well, keeping a credible clean sheet against then Championship leaders West Brom.

The verdict

Cabango has been a surprise package for Swansea this season. Few expected him to be as involved with the first-team as he is, and few expected him to be so good.

He’s fully deserving of his contract renewal, and this should mark the start of a successful career in football for the Welshman.

Freelance football journalist based in Sheffield. Postgraduate degree in Sports Journalism, and good experience in digital football writing and match reporting.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Steve Cooper believes this Swansea City player has ‘a lot of improving to do’

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