Brits Abroad - The Tour Diary

18th July

Part Three

As the Swans set up camp in America ahead of the new Premier League campaign, leading from the front yet again will be influential club captain Leon Britton.

And the long-serving fans favourite will be keeping supporters up-to-date with an exclusive look behind the Stateside scenes in Philadelphia and North Carolina courtesy of his personal tour diary.

We have now said our goodbyes to Philadelphia after a whistle-stop four days and moved on to our new base in North Carolina.

We ended our stay with a friendly against MLS side Philadelphia Union. There was a nice set up and welcome at the Talen Energy Stadium where over 16,000 fans turned out to watch the 2-2 draw.

Goals from Kyle Bartley and Jordan Ayew rounded off a good night's work considering it was our first game of the tour.

Like most MLS teams, they were very fit and athletic, which is probably to be expected as they are midway through their season at the moment.

The manager gave everyone 45 minutes and I felt fine after playing the second-half. Luckily the sun had gone down by half-time so it wasn't so hot and humid. The boys who played in the first-half suffered the brunt of the heat, especially after they had to stand in the middle of the pitch while both anthems were sung, which is a tradition out here.

I know our club streamed the game back live to the UK with thousands taking advantage of the website coverage, despite the game kicking off at midnight at home.

I also heard the rendition of the Welsh national anthem caused a bit of a stir. Goalkeeping coach Tony Roberts, who also does the job for Wales, is standing by as a passionate Welshman to sing the next one!

Talking of traditions - a good link there - Roque Mesa and Erwin Mulder performed their initiation songs at dinner before we left Philadelphia.

Roque stood on a chair to do his, which probably wasn't the best of ideas considering it was a swivel chair.

First up he tried a verse of It's Raining Men before switching to a longer version of We Are The Champions. In the end the boys had to stop him as he was about to start a third song, while still spinning around on the chair.

They reckoned he has a Best Of album ready to release.

Next up was new goalkeeper Erwin Mulder who sang a song from his native Holland that not even the Dutch boys had heard of.

But at least he had the sense not to stand on the swivel chair.

It was Tammy Abraham who has caused the biggest stir though.

Having joined up with us at our new training base in North Carolina, the Chelsea loanee wanted to get his song out of the way early so he could relax.

So no sooner had he arrived at the hotel in time for dinner, he was straight up. He was going to stand on a chair, as is normal practice, but he is so tall that the manager was worried he’d bang his head on the ceiling and we would have to find another striker to start the season.

Anyway, as most of the boys will tell you, it can be a daunting experience singing in front of a group of people you hardly know, or even know at all. But for a 19 year old, he didn’t half take us all by surprise and made one hell of an impression with his rendition of End of the Road by Boyz II Men.

In fact he absolutely nailed it and left us speechless before everyone chanted for more, which is a first as far as I’m aware. Usually these initiation songs are a cause for hilarity.

If he can play as good as he can sing, we’ll all be joining Roque Mesa singing We Are The Champions at the end of the season!

In the meantime, Tammy has requested for Simon Cowell to please stop calling him. He already has an agent thanks.

It was an eventful day for Tammy whose singing career was nearly thwarted before it had begun by the American immigration service.

While we shot through customs after flying the hour from Philadelphia to North Carolina, Tammy should have been waiting for us at the airport after catching an earlier flight from London. But there was no sign of him when we landed 45 minutes after his scheduled arrival.

A couple of quick phone calls later and Tammy informed us he was still stick in immigration. So, being caring teammates, we left him there!

But we are not all bad, instead a club delegation remained behind to make sure he was okay and to follow us on to our hotel.

An hour later and Tammy eventually arrived at the hotel after nearly two hours in immigration, emerging still unaware as to the reason he was held back. Apparently, at one stage, they even wanted to phone Paul Clement to confirm he was actually a footballer.

So after my problems with Homeland Security getting through passport control at Heathrow, the boys reckon me and Tammy are on our own when it’s time to fly home.

That’s when I’ll see who my real friends are.

Talking of friend - another good link there, I’m getting good at this - me and my new roommate Tom Carroll are getting a bit of stick from the boys.

He’s a new roomie for me and I have to say we are getting on really well. So well, the boys reckon we are joined at the hip, which is a cheap shot from a squad that are pining to watch ‘Love Island’.

I’ve told Tom to take no notice and they are just jealous of our bromance.

Mind you, it was put to the test at 5am this morning. Tom, who sleeps closest to the window, had only forgotten to close the curtains before we went to sleep. Schoolboy error.

So I wasn’t happy when the rising sun woke me up at 5am. He was straight up out of bed to close them though when I complained. That’s a good boy.

Anyway, I did mention earlier that we are now in North Carolina. But more about that later . . . Tom, Tom, where are you?

Stay tuned for more episodes of Brits Abroad as the tour progresses . . .

If you missed it, you can catch the first two parts of Brits Abroad - The Tour Diary below.

Part One

Part Two