Barrow's perfect tribute
9th January 2015
When Modou Barrow pointed to the sky after scoring his first Swansea City goal last weekend, it proved a poignant moment for the Gambian winger.
Happy as he was to have found the net for the first time as a Swan in the FA Cup win at Tranmere, Barrow's celebration was more a tribute than anything else.
Having lost his mother through illness just over a decade ago, the 22-year-old wanted to show his appreciation for all she had done for him throughout his life.
"That was for my mum," said Barrow. "She helped me a lot, buying me shoes to play football in. She is the reason I'm doing all this now - it is all for her.
"Everything I achieve in football is not for myself, it is to make my mum proud and my family - my girlfriend, my daughter, my father."
The goal crowned a whirlwind few months for Barrow.
A rapid winger who grew up in Gambia before spending a decade in Sweden, it was playing under former Hamilton boss Billy Reid and ex-West Brom and Stoke full-back Graham Potter at Ostersunds that helped pave his way to South West Wales.
And since his arrival in SA1, there has been plenty to talk about.
Juggling the commitments of becoming a father for the first time in September, Barrow immediately showed his maturity and quality with the club's Under-21s set-up.
With Garry Monk impressed by his performances and attitude, Barrow was given his chance with the first team in November.
A debut off the bench against Arsenal proved to be a day to remember for the youngster.
With the Swans trailing, Barrow came on for Marvin Emnes and he soon had the Jack Army on its feet. Having picked up the ball inside his own half, Barrow sped into a gaping hole in the Gunners defence before being hauled down some 25 yards from goal. It proved a key moment.
"Gylfi (Sigurdsson) gave me the ball and I could see space in the middle. I knew my pace would get me through the gap," said Barrow.
"When I was running I saw (Wilfried) Bony on the right and Jeff (Montero) on the left and just two defenders in front of me. I would have passed if a defender came at me, but I also had the chance to shoot.
"But I was taken down and then Gylfi steps up and hits the free-kick into the top corner. It was a big moment because I knew I had played my part."
Just two minutes later another substitute clinched victory, with Bafe Gomis heading home from close range to seal a memorable win for the Swans.
Heading down the tunnel following his successful debut, Barrow was totally unaware that he had just made Barclays Premier League history.
"At the moment I didn't know anything of it - I was told after the game that I was the first person from my country to play in the Premier League," beamed Barrow.
"I am very proud to be the first Gambian to play in this league.
"I had a lot of messages from family and friends in Gambia who were telling me how proud they were of my achievement. I also had a lot of messages from friends in Sweden too.
"I think my journey gives young footballers in Gambia hope. They can look at me and believe that they can do it too."
Since his debut, Barrow has also come off the bench against Manchester City and Crystal Palace while a first start arrived in the FA Cup win at Tranmere last weekend.
And with a new four-year contract signed and sealed earlier this week, the last few months have ticked many boxes for Barrow.
Despite his talent, he is yet to win international honours at any level.
Eligible for both Gambia - the country of his birth - and Sweden, Barrow has to wait before ticking that box.
But, as he explains, he is solely focused on the job in hand at the Liberty.
"I've been asked a lot about that in the last few months," he added with a smile. "But I am just focusing on what I do here at Swansea. I have to work very hard just to get a chance because there are very good, experienced players here.
"I've signed my new contract, which I'm really happy with because it shows the club has faith in my ability.
"Now I want to give everything I have to the club and do whatever I can to help the manager and my team-mates."
Modou Barrow was chosen for this week's Wallpaper Wednesday feature, which is free to download to your desktop by clicking HERE