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The Swansea City academy Wales ‘Euros’ back four
Saturday, 12th Jun 2021 12:00 by David Cornish

It’s an incredible thing, four of Wales finest defensive products, that is Wales players developed in the principality have all come from Swansea City FC. Gruff mentioned this earlier, if they were from Cardiff City other media would be hammering it down our throats.

These are times for #TogetherStronger of course, but it has to be sounded out from the highest of peaks. Wales have an academy that grows and develops its own players, and over recent years it has been extremely productive. It could well be a golden era for Wales, and Swansea City players. Ben Davies is the oldest at 28, he has a few years left in him yet. After 71 Swansea premier league fixtures he joined Spurs in 2014 and has developed far beyond anyone’s imagination when he took over from Neil Taylor at the swans after a shocking injury. Ben has been at the swans since he was around the age of 7. To date he has 60 international caps.

Another absolute gem of a player is Joe Rodon, also now at Spurs Joe was identified at an early age as a truly fantastic defender. From the age of 8 Joe progressed through the swans ranks commanding a massive fee for the club of around £15,000,000 in 2020. Joe’s future is so bright he could easily make the highest of grades with or without Spurs. Rodon has played 14 times for his country.

Conner Roberts, now surely an automatic Wales pick has also been at the swans since a very young age. He was 9 when he was first invited along to the club, he hasn’t looked back. On his day his goals from the right side, his aerial ability and runs across the front of defenders are reminiscent to a younger Gareth Bale. Don’t get me wrong he has a long way to go. But from the right hand side, especially at wing back he has terrorised defences in the championship. Now much talked about in the close season, Roberts, another local lad has a massive future ahead of him, albeit he is now 25. His athleticism and agility has even been remarked upon by Bales himself as ‘ astonishing’ Conner has scored 11 goals for the swans in 133 appearances and has played 26 games for Wales.

The anomaly in the Wales defensive mix is one Ben Cabango. Not that he didn’t come from the academy at Swansea, but that the swans sneaked him from under the noses of rivals Cardiff City and Newport County. Ben is a Cardiff lad. But today he wears the white shirt of Swansea and the red one of Wales with absolute pride. Ben has played for Wales at all levels and currently has 3 caps to his name. He has only known success since he first appeared for the swans academy and is already earning interest from premier league clubs. At 21 he has even more time to develop and learned so much from Marc Guehi on loan from Chelsea To the swans for the last two seasons.

There is always much chat about Swansea City developing players locally, these are great examples of a positive approach to developing young Welsh though the chances of all four starting a game in the group phase. However, it is more than possible all four could be on the pitch at the same time in the coming week. Be proud of that. It’s a remarkable Swansea City contribution to the Wales football system.

We mustn’t forget Joe Allen either who will definitely be selected for the forthcoming euro games. Apologies to Dan James you were a month too late mate, but well worth a mention.

Nice one Jacks.

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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