Brandon Cooper | My Favourite Game
We speak to a member of the Swansea City squad about a special game from their career, and what made it so notable.
Here, young defender Brandon Cooper relives the evening he made his first-team debut for his hometown club.
Swansea City 0 Crystal Palace 1
Carabao Cup: Liberty Stadium
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
It was all quite surreal and happened so quickly.
The most surreal thing about it was that we were playing a Premier League side in Crystal Palace and Roy Hodgson was the manager. Palace are a big club and came to Swansea with some great players like Jason Puncheon, Max Meyer, Alexander Sorloth and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
I found out the day before that I’d be playing. There were a lot of younger players training with the first team. I thought I was only training with them to make up the numbers for the day.
After training, Alan Curtis said to me: “Are you ready for tomorrow? Do you know you’re starting?” Everyone knows that Curt is a massive favourite at the club. It’s a proud moment I can look back on realising the significance of him telling me after training.
He was the one who saw my reaction first and it meant a lot coming from him.
The following day, I saw the squad list and there were only two centre-halves on there – myself and Cian Harries – so it was inevitable that I was going to be starting.
It was the first time I’d played at the Liberty. I’d been on the bench for the under-23s in the Checkatrade Trophy and was injured around the time when we played a lot of games there, so I missed out on them all.
I was quite nervous sitting in the dressing room knowing I was going to be going out onto the pitch and playing. In the past, I’d been on the bench and knew my chances of coming on were quite slim, so it was crazy seeing my shirt on that side of the dressing room where the starters’ jerseys hang.
It’s a great stadium; I’d always wanted to play there in front of our fans and doing that under the lights at the Liberty was a great feeling.
We played very well that day and were unfortunate not to go through to the next round.
I got cramp with about 30 minutes left. It was unfortunate but I always look on the positive side of what came out of that game and what a milestone it was to start my first game for Swansea at the age of 18 against such a good team like Crystal Palace. It’s something I will always remember.
Over the last couple of years, a lot of players have come through the academy and been given chances to show what they can do in the first team. Hopefully, that will carry on going forward and we can help a lot of players push on and enjoy really good careers.