Carlos toasts international calls

15th March 2018
First team

Carlos Carvalhal has saluted Alfie Mawson and Connor Roberts after the Swansea City duo landed first senior international call-ups.

Centre-back Mawson has been summoned by England manager Gareth Southgate for the friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy later this month.

And local lad Roberts, who hails from Crynant, has been named in the first Wales squad picked by new manager Ryan Giggs.

He will be on the plane for the China Cup later this month, with Giggs’s team set to play China and either Uruguay or the Czech Republic.

“I am very happy for both of them,” Carvalhal said.

“As a manager, I always have two things in my head. One is to develop my team so we win games and the other is to try to make the players I am working with better players.

“Alfie is progressing a lot in my opinion and we are very happy to help him do that, and it is exactly the same with Connor.”

Should he get some game-time with his national team, Mawson will aim to become only the third player in history – after Jonjo Shelvey and Tammy Abraham – to be capped by England while playing his club football for the Swans.

The former non-league player has enjoyed a remarkable rise up the divisions, thriving in a Swans shirt since joining from Barnsley in the summer of 2016.

“Alfie is a very good centre-back and he is getting better,” Carvalhal added.

“He is doing things now compared to what he was doing in the past. All credit goes to him – he is a good character, he plays with quality and, as I have said before, he is one of the best centre-backs playing in the Premier League.

“He is completely ready to play at a higher level. He is a good defender who can also start attacks, and in modern football that’s something you need.”

Roberts’s opportunity with Wales is the latest breakthrough during a dramatic spell in his career.

The right-back only made his Swans debut at the beginning of January but, having spent the first half of the season on loan at Middlesbrough, has established himself as a solid first-team option at the Liberty.

“Connor came back from Middlesbrough and he has done really well,” Carvalhal added.

“He is doing better and better and he is a boy from the academy, which makes us very happy.

“He is a Welsh boy playing in the Premier League. To have him and Alfie called up by their national teams is fantastic for Swansea.”