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Russell Martin opens up on the international break and his thoughts on the loan system
Monday, 6th Sep 2021 08:27 by Keith Haynes

Swansea City Manager Russell Martin has had plenty of time during the past eight days to take stock of his current position at Swansea, and to plan for the games ahead. Incorporated in to this international break was a hugely demanding deadline day transfer headache as well. It was the swans busiest transfer deadline in recent memory.

Martin and his team may not realise it but they are in a very privileged position over the past and coming week. With the vast majority of his first team squad available it has given him an edge that no swans manager has had for years. And that is full squad access over a lengthy period of time where other managers at the swans have had up to twelve or thirteen players missing.

Although the swans representation in the national team directly and indirectly has always been more than any other contributing club in the last decade, this time matters were a lot different. It couldn’t have fallen better for the new swans ‘boss’ With personal logistics to take care of as well as squad movements, and his back up team in the same or similar situations it must be a comfortable place to be.

New permanent signings Obafemi and Ncham in training this past week

Swansea City haven’t taken the league by storm this season, but even with the huge turnaround in personnel, and massive planning surrounding players going in and out, plus the closure of Fairwood for a deep clean it’s hardly been a time to relax. On those players on loan, starting with Ollie Cooper Martin stated . “I’ve watched Ollie’s game already against Plymouth in the cup; he did great, played really well,” said Martin. “I told him he should’ve scored, but he looked really good, really impressive. It’s a great start for him. We had a really good chat with Ollie; he just needs to play some football, play some games, to give himself the best chance of being in the first team here long-term. That’s where he wants to be as another local lad. He’s seen Dan Williams do really well and now Ollie has a chance to go and do it, albeit elsewhere, but play some first-team football regularly, and if he carries on playing like he did in the first game he’ll do really well. I’m really pleased for him.

Kyle Joseph joined Cheltenham Town on loan for the season, and it’s clear Russell Martin and Matt Gill are very clear on how his progression will be monitored. “Kyle was the same, he was behind a few bodies here, and this club has had such success developing other clubs’ players that sometimes we have to offload some. He has had a big move to the club, it’s a big change, and he’s only played 15 games, I think, at first-team level. He needs to play some football, and we liked the way that Cheltenham went about it, how much they wanted him, how much he fits into their system.

“There’s a good coach there, in Michael Duff, and I hope he will be really beneficial to him, and it’s not a million miles away. We can really keep tabs on him and Ollie. It's not a case of 'out of sight, out of mind', we’re really going to keep track of them. Matty Gill will go and visit them at Newport and Cheltenham regularly, because that’s part of Matt’s role. He’ll go and visit them. We’ll watch their clips every single week and get feedback. We look forward to seeing their progress.”

Martin and Gill working closely together on the loan situation

Martin was also extremely excited to see Michael Obafemi sign in a permanent deal at the club from Southampton. “I spoke to Fraser Forster and Nathan Redmond about [Obafemi], and they gave a brilliant character reference,” said Martin. “They both said that he just needs to find a home where he can play regularly, have a bit of love and find a connection with a club. Both said that he’s got so much potential, so it’s exciting for us. He’s powerful, got a lot of athleticism, got a good mentality. He’s someone the club’s been interested in for a long time, and he was close to joining in January, but obviously was unfortunate with an injury. Michael played in the Premier League at a very young age, and if he was a bit more fortunate with injuries, would have played in the Premier League regularly, I’m pretty sure of that. He’s young, and he’s ours, he’s not a loan signing, which makes him a brilliant signing for us.”

For many the jury is still out on Russell Martin, for us as we have been saying all along its all about patience. It could well be this season is one where we have to accept that this is the watershed season for the swans. It was needed, the relentless pressure on both Graham Potter and Steve Cooper to deliver just didn’t come off at the end of the day. We can accept that and we can also understand exactly where Russell Martin and his team are coming from. It won’t all happen at once, but we are extremely confident it will happen.

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