Swansea City head coach Steve Cooper has claimed midfielder Tom Carroll is back in contention for a place in the side after completing his recovery from a long-term hip injury.
Carroll made a late substitute appearance during Swansea’s 1-1 draw with Reading in the Championship on Saturday, in what was his first league appearance for the club in 11 months following an injury he suffered on loan at Aston Villa.
The 27-year-old joined Dean Smith’s side on a temporary basis last January as he looked to help bolster their promotion bid, but he made just two substitute appearances for the Midlands outfit before he was forced to return to his parent club.
Carroll spent the summer nursing his recovery from the recurring injury, and he then featured for Swansea’s U23 side earlier this campaign before making his senior return during the 6-0 victory over Cambridge United in the Carabao Cup.
Cooper has now insisted that Carroll is back fit after taking a while to recover from his injury problem, and the Tottenham academy graduate has now joined the rest of the Swansea side in competing for a starting place.
“He’s been back a while now, Tom,” Cooper told Wales Online.
“As I’ve said publicly on quite a few occasions, he’s had a rough time with a hip injury and it took him a little while to get back from. But he’s been back training and he’s been playing some minutes in the cup and for the 23s and he’s very much in contention – as is everybody.”
The Swansea boss then went on to highlight Carroll’s main strengths and stated he would look to utilise his creativity whenever possible, while he also asserted that the midfielder is a valuable member of his side going forward.
“He obviously has ability that everyone knows about and hopefully he can find the right opportunity to start utilising it more. I think Tom’s more of a creator than a scorer, so it was more about the last part on Saturday. I don’t think we were lacking too much creativity on the weekend,” he added.
“But we know that Tom has that in him in abundance and as I said we’ve just got to try and find the right moment to use him. When that does happen, we believe he will add value.”
Carroll’s return from injury should provide Swansea with a huge boost as he offers plenty of experience as well as quality on the ball, and Swans fans will just be hoping the injury has not had any significant affect on his ability.
The midfield duo of Matt Grimes and Jay Fulton has become something of a fixture in Swansea’s league side so Carroll will have his work cut out to get in the team, but his presence provides some welcome competition in the centre of the park.
Carroll will also be important for midweek matches as he provides Cooper with a further selection option, and it would be no surprise to see the midfielder heavily involved in Wednesday night’s match against Charlton.
He could well prove to be a valuable asset for Swansea this season and, even at the age of 27, there is still time for him to develop his game under the guidance of Cooper.