Chris Felicelli-Chicago Jacks
Rodon. James. Roberts. All Welsh, all under 25.
Graham Potter’s young dragons have provided a much-needed spark for Swansea City as of late. From Daniel James’s finesse passes, to Joe Rodon’s stalwart defense, and with Connor Roberts flying all over the pitch, Swansea have developed an amazing young trio poised to make it big in the Championship. While transfers have undoubtedly left supporters with a sour feeling, the home-grown academy players are thriving in the English Championship, and taking the world by force as part of the Wales National Team.
Connor Roberts, hailing from Neath, has waited patiently in the academy ranks for his first team call up. A key figure in the U23s cup run, Roberts made his initial debut for the first team in the 2017-2018 FA cup tie against Wolves, eventually being a regular for the remainder of the Premier League campaign. Now in the Championship, Roberts has shown to be a spark plug, creeping up from the right back to punish on counters. Roberts has made 6 caps for Wales and scored an absolute screamer off a Gareth Bale assist against Ireland in the UEFA Nations League.
Joe Rodon, from Morriston, also bided his time in the academy for over 10 years before receiving his first senior call up against Preston North End in August. With a squad so thin in numbers, Rodon has proved to be an unwavering defender and a key member in a Swansea defense that has let up the 2nd fewest goals in the Championship. Joe made his senior call up this October and will play a key role in the UEFA Nations League campaign for Wales.
Daniel James showed the Championship just how much grit he had in Swansea’s defeat of Reading in October. James both forced a penalty and dished out a beautiful assist to Oli McBurnie to give the Swans a 2-0 win. James, joined Swansea in 2014 from Hull City’s academy. He also developed in the Swansea academy, helping the U23s to their cup. James made his debut for the first team against Birmingham City and has since played like an absolute madman terrorizing defenders on the pitch. James recently made his first senior call up for the Wales national team against Serbia.
The three young dragons have showed the supporters just what they are capable of on the pitch. Welsh born and homegrown in the Swansea academy, they are a testament to the grit and determination of Swansea, and Wales as a whole. Our academy is shaping up to be a goldmine that we have unknowingly squatted on for too long. It is time to stop burning money on lavish transfers, and time to start investing in our product to lock them down for a successful future.