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With Swansea City sitting within the Championship’s top two at the time of writing, fans of the Swans will be delighted with the start that the Liberty Stadium outfit have made this season, with Steve Cooper leading his side to a points return of 17 from a possible 24.
Much of the club’s success over the past few years can be attributed to their admirable youth production line, with the Swans currently possessing five academy graduates within their first team who have gone on to make senior appearances this season: Ben Cabango, Joe Rodon, Jordan Garrick, George Byers and Connor Roberts.
It is perhaps centre half Rodon who has been the most impressive of the five former academy players with the 21 year-old racking up an average 4.5 clearances per game this season, putting him highest in the defensive clearance charts for Swansea this season.
Whilst the young defender has also displayed his strong ability when in possession of the ball by registering a pass success rate of 86.1%, making an average of 61.1 passes per game, with only 1.4 of which being long balls, thus showing how well Rodon has adapted to Steve Cooper’s style of play that encourages his players to play possession football through the use of short passes.
In addition to Rodon, right back Connor Roberts has also made a brilliant impact since progressing to the first team, with the Welshman also possessing strong passing skills, which are displayed by his pass success rate of 83.7% this season, averaging 42.1 per game.
However Roberts isn’t only good at contributing to his team keeping the ball, the 24-year-old has also contributed one assist so far this season, further underlining his creative skills, with one of the traits of Cooper’s style of play being the emphasis on getting the ball wide to attack using the wingers and overlapping fullbacks.
George Byers has also provided a significant contribution to the cause, with the former Swansea under 23’s man scoring three goals in all competition this season, a trait of the midfielder’s game that he built up during his time in the Swans academy with the 23 year-old netting 15 goals during his spell in the under 23’s team, for whom he joined from Watford after only playing eight minutes for their first team.
Lastly fellow academy prospects, winger Jordan Garrick and centre half Ben Cabango have provided strong alternatives for Cooper to his usual starting eleven when playing in the Carabao Cup, with both Garrick and Cabango appearing in all three of the Swans fixtures in the competition this season before they were knocked out by Watford last night, going down two goals to one at Vicarage Road.
Garrick is a young winger who possesses great pace and an eye for goal to boot, as his clinical finish against Cambridge United showed.
Whilst Cabango provides good back up for the likes of Rodon, van der Hoorn and Watford loanee Ben Wilmot, with the 19 year-old Welshman putting in an assured performance last night for the Swans despite ultimately losing to Watford in the end.
Swansea’s youth production line rumbles on as the club looks to produce the next Dan James, with their current crop of youngsters performing well in the first team, there is no reason why the Welsh side can’t finish amongst the promotion places this term.