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Fulham 3 v 1 Swansea City
SkyBet Championship
Wednesday, 29th September 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Ethan Laird, from Manchester United to Steve Cooper’s England, to Swansea City
Wednesday, 29th Sep 2021 09:00 by Keith Haynes

Ethan Laird has won himself a lot of admirers since he was snapped up on a season long loan deal by Swansea City from his parent club Manchester United. Last month we covered the huge amount of time Manchester United will continue to invest in him. It’s extensive and extremely time consuming. And he won’t even be at Old Trafford. It will be very intensive and no stone will be left unturned. He is seen as one who could definitely make it at Manchester United. With the help of Swansea City of course.

Tonight Ethan again steps up his development with experience under the lights at Craven Cottage. It’s almost certain he will be a permanent fixture in his left back defensive role whilst at the swans if he remains uninsured this season. That is a role, which as a player under Russell Martin at Swansea you have to be flexible, dominant, and courageous in your thinking and game management. Laird has the ability to be all those things, we have seen it already this season. At times he has gone quiet in games, or found it difficult to work himself in to matches from the start, but over the ninety minutes last Saturday against Huddersfield he showed genuine flair and skill.

Fast becoming a swans favourite with a tenacious style and beaming smile on his face even when things are not going that well, tonight he will be extremely important both in defence and when the swans go forwards. And they will. Now with added venom in midfield with Olivier Ntcham a permanent fixture at Swansea, and Flynn Downes beginning to shine alongside him, tonight’s game is set up really nicely. The real issue for the swans has been too much negativity in their midfield three, and much of the blame has been placed at Matt Grimes feet. However, tonight captain Grimes has extra responsibility on his shoulders, it’s clear the swans defensive strategy is paramount in Martin’s tactical plan, it has to be. And of course Grimes will be crucial to that defensive mindset as much as he genuinely needs to embrace positivity when going forwards. If the swans midfield ticks, and the defence remain sound it could be a shock is on the cards this evening.

Steve Cooper was very keen to see Ethan Laird at Swansea last season, having seen him at England under 17 level, but Manchester United we’re far happier for him to go to MK Dons. It proved a very decent decision for Ethan and Russell Martin who would later bring him to Swansea. Cooper included the sixteen year old Manchester United prodigy in his 2018 under 17 squad, and giving him game time, indeed Laird was starting to make a name for himself even then. Cooper was none too pleased Laird when to MK Dons, but as we have said, the swans loss at the time is actually the swans gain today.

Manchester United have always been protective of their players, but have also placed them on loan to certain clubs that they believe can develop their young stars. Obviously Swansea City’s record with valuable youth products from the Premier League is pretty much unrivalled. It was obvious if he was to go anywhere it would be west Wales. There will be a lot on very young shoulders tonight in south London. A big swans travelling support will be expectant as well. Laird should revel in his role, and you just get the feeling that a little bit of magic may well be the deciding factor to take the points from this game. It’s all set for an exciting evening of championship football. Fulham v Swansea City kicks off at 7.45pm and is LIVE On SKY.

Photographs licensed from Reuters



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