Bitter sweet debut for Shephard
10th January 2016
Liam Shephard reflected on a bitter sweet moment as his Swansea City debut ended in a 3-2 defeat to Oxford United in the FA Cup.
The right-back was among ten changes for the Swans, with manager Alan Curtis keen to utilise his squad ahead of back-to-back home fixtures against Sunderland and Watford in the Premier League.
But Shephard's first appearance ended in disappointment as the Swans threw away a 1-0 lead, and as a result they exited the tournament at the third-round stage.
Shephard, who hails from Pentre, joined Swansea City's academy from Cardiff in 2011 and has gone on to make 10 starting appearances for the development squad this season as captain.
And the 21-year-old revealed it was a dream come true to finally make his senior Swans debut.
"All I have ever wanted is to play for Swansea City," he said. "I was buzzing for today but we did not get the right result.
"There is nothing better than to play football in front of huge crowds - it makes a real difference compared to the Under-21s.
"There are so many people at the club that play in my position that I never thought I would get a chance like I have had today.
"I have Alan Curtis to thank for helping me achieve another huge step forward for my development. I really appreciate it.
"He is from Pentre in Rhondda Cynon Taf, like me. Curt has been a big role model for me as I have grown as a player - he has encouraged me right the way through the process and has been supportive ever since I have been a Swan."
Shephard, who's father Garry played for Newport and Merthyr Town, admitted the Swans' cup defeat is a huge loss, especially for younger players on the fringes of the squad.
"I am disappointed to have lost on my debut and to be honest I feel I did not give my best performance," he continued.
"Getting our chance in the FA Cup was a huge opportunity for a number of players today, including myself and we have let ourselves down.
"We were not at our best today. Even when we went 1-0 up I felt Oxford were more threatening in attack.
"We were sloppy at times today and lacked a lot of movement off the ball.
"The manager has shown he will give chances to younger players including Matt (Grimes), Stephen (Kingsley) and myself today, while we also had Daniel (James) and Joe (Rodon) on the bench.
"There are a lot of good players coming through our youth system and there is more to come from all of us.
"I don't think I took my chance today but I hope I get another to show what I can do for the team. I just have to work hard and keep doing what I am doing for the Under-21s and more opportunities will come."