Byron Anthony | Watford defeat a great learning experience for youthful U18s

8th March 2021
Kai Ludvigsen

New Swansea City Under-18s boss Byron Anthony believes the defeat by Watford presented an important learning opportunity for his youthful side.

The young Swans were beaten 5-1 in Anthony’s first game in charge, after taking over the reins of Anthony Wright at the start of the month.

Boasting an average age of just 16 years and four months, the visitors took a first-half lead in Hertfordshire through Rio Campbell.

Six under-16 players were part of the Swans’ travelling party for the Professional Development League South encounter, including 15-year-olds Ben Lloyd, Sebastian Dabrowski and Iwan Morgan.

But they were no match for the hosts after the break, as a Watford team consisting mainly of second-year scholars overturned the deficit before running out commanding winners.

Despite the result, Anthony was greatly encouraged by aspects of the performances of his young players.

And the under-18s boss is confident that the experience will stand them in good stead further down the line.

Jacob Edwards

“We knew going there was going to be a challenge,” he said.

“It was a real young team and it was an opportunity for them to express themselves in this environment.

“In the first half, we played some really good football and were really aggressive on the front foot. They had a couple of chances, but without doing too much harm.

“The physical aspect was a real test for the players and you could see that in the second half; they pressed us and put us under a bit more pressure.

“But it was a great learning experience for the players. For me, it was a massive positive to see some of them progress from younger age groups and hold their own.

“Of course, it’s nice to win, but the development is the key for the players.

“Hopefully, we can continue that towards the end of the season.”