Russell Martin emphasis on Swansea City’s future is positive and exciting
Sunday, 3rd Oct 2021 12:35 by Keith Haynes
Another positive display, albeit without goals ended our last match day for the next two weeks, it’s now a welcome break for the coaching team at Swansea City. Since their arrival there has been drastic and much needed change at the club. Swansea City had began a slow decline in squad direction, which thankfully through a dedicated and professional approach Russell Martin & co have at least stopped for now.
The biggest area for Russell Martin to make decisions on was the type and way the swans train. Under Steve Cooper, especially during this summer, and indeed as Alan Tate took over, masses of learning was missed. The refusal of the staff then to take on board medical evaluations of players, literally disregarding professional advice was alarming. Russell Martin has already made it evidently clear the regime when he took over was flawed and affected the squads fitness massively.
Football fans, especially those many thousands who follow the swans have been used to a twenty plus year era of general success. When it wasn’t successful it was hopeful, and when it wasn’t that hopeful there was a sense of spirit and belief things would get better through hard work. And as we know, it did. Nowadays with the Premier League still fresh in many minds, and two failed attempts to return, that spirit and belief is being replaced by negativity, and a desire to undermine certain elements within the club. That is by a few loud voices over shouting the majority.
For me that isn’t good enough, not now when Russell Martin is in the very early phases of reconstruction and introducing huge changes within the sporting side of the club. With eleven league games gone there are now elements who are looking at the results in isolation in their pursuance of undermining the swans boss. Everything that Martin has said would happen is happening, there has been, and will be pain, however there doesn’t seem to be recognition of this obvious change we are witnessing. Amongst this general minority at least.
Not only have Swansea City cleverly and professionally negotiated the departure of Steve Cooper and Mike Marsh, they have undertaken a very careful approach to identifying their successors. In John Eustace they had a man who has tremendous respect within the game. He agreed to come to the swans but QPR stepped in, and finances won the day. It was alarming that Eusatde would turn down such a golden opportunity, but in a way you cannot blame him. In Amit Bhatia, the chairman of QPR he has a boss who is used to success in his working life, and naturally that desire is reflected in a man who gets what he wants. His business interests span across the globe, and he is also well established in Silicone Valley, USA. In Eustace he has a natural successor to Mark Warburton, and that was clearly in Eustace’s mind when he decided to stay at QPR. Plus as well, and this was also evident, his self awareness that he really wasn’t up to the job. Which personally I have to agree with.
Russell Martin and his coaching team moved their families and partners to the Swansea area, and with all the logistics that came with that. We know that the coaching team are working up to twelve hours a day to bring around this huge change in the training ethos, the way it is delivered, and not only that ensuring the application of the players is properly assessed and managed. What is refreshing is that players like Joel Piroe and Morgan Whittaker have met the challenge head on which was referenced by Russell Martin yesterday evening.” I think every player wants more minutes," explained Martin. "I'm really honest with the guys. The ones who are not getting minutes understand the reason why. There's never a conversation where you just fob them off and tell them just what you think they want to hear. Morgan understands why he's not in the squad, and he accepts there are things he really needs to improve on. His attitude has been great, he deserved to be back in the squad today. "We could maybe have brought him on a tiny bit earlier, but Korey had a brilliant action just before he went off, so it made it difficult. He's part of the squad and it's up to him to make himself a really important part of the squad and he knows what he needs to do to make that happen."
It’s clear to me there is no ‘fraud’ element in his communication, definitely no lack of continual effort in his training philosophy, and most certainly a clear idea of where they want to be as a whole unit. Everything that Martin has stated has happened. Yesterday away at Derby County we heard from Wayne Rooney of his relief that he managed to hang on for a point, “I thought it was a very difficult game and Swansea moved around well, which we knew they would do, and they caused us problems.We changed our shape and after that we looked a threat and created a few good chances in the second half. We knew we would struggle to implement our game on them, so it was about defending well and trying to possibly get a goal on the break.“We had to dig in and try to keep a clean sheet. Overall, it is a good point. Everyone worked extremely hard and while it was frustrating to not play better than we did, we are happy to take a point and move on.”
“We knew we would struggle to implement our game on them, so it was about defending well and trying to possibly get a goal on the break”
Now I’m no lover of Rooney, the way he behaves away from the game and to be honest of his general coaching ability. However he was a great player, so his assessment has to be taken at face value. Derby were clueless to respond to the swans this weekend, they had literally no answer to the swans tactics. The only thing, and yes we all know it’s the biggest thing, was another game where goals were not evident. Everything else was absolutely perfect. The training methodology is clearly working and being illustrated on the pitch, the only action that Russell Martin can’t manage is the ability of his players to put the ball in to the back of the net in game time. However, as he states ‘That will come’ And after eleven games I can see that. The final part of his ideology has now got two weeks to be reviewed and implemented on the training pitch.
Then it’s Cardiff City at home.
Martin’s post match reflections were confidently communicated, and the areas for development assessed when facing the press. Not the best time to talk about a game that has just finished, but as a ‘hot debrief’ of what he saw it was valuable. On keeper Ben Hamer Martin was happy to highlight him in his immediate assessment. “He had a lot of work to do in possession. I thought he did it brilliantly. He's got better and better. Derby haven’t created anything. The three shots are off the back of our mistakes, and he dealt with it brilliantly. The hardest part for the goalkeeper playing for us at the moment is that you're not required a huge amount, and hopefully it'll stay that way. So it's about maintaining concentration and focus for when you are called upon. He'll be the first to give praise to the guys in front of him for not making him too busy, but he's also been important to us in the last four or five games for sure."
“Derby haven’t created anything. The three shots are off the back of our mistakes”
Ben Hamer, very much in Martin’s thoughts post match
I’ve personally enjoyed the transition we have all witnessed since Russell Martin came to the club, I genuinely like his honesty, the way he communicates, and his ability to interact with the players in training, and how they are treated. There will always be dissenters to change in any revolution, those seemingly stuck in a plethora of excuses why a new initiative or era isn’t or won’t work. You will never hear though their own plan that could be actioned positively alongside what we already have. You won’t hear them talk about the good things, just the bad things, and if you are not, in their belief listening carefully enough, they will tell you again and again. No offer of a solution, no positivity, just inappropriate use of words to make a point, and most importantly in most cases a total lack of awareness outside their own thinking. The typical stand back and complain approach, but offer nothing as a solution, let alone lead from the front and be seen to have the bravery and courage of your convictions. What you get on Swansea Independent in our features is a careful analysis, and yes, where it’s wrong we say so, and review where things can change. We do take the lead, and anyone in any doubt should ask themselves the question “What am I reading now if this website and its owners are not taking the lead ?”
We move on.
This last week we have had some very open dialogue in the USA regards Swansea City, and once we get that formatted, and do our due diligence on the information - and gauge responses we will run a feature on the club as it stands today. We think you will enjoy the insight we have gained through certain individuals trust in us as a news medium for Swansea City. So, that’s something to look forward to.
We look forwards, and hopefully you too are looking forwards with added positivity and belief, the spirit of 2001 is still with us, and after eleven games of football it surely has to be with you too.
Photographs licensed from Reuters
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