Clement pleased to have 'legend' Leon

16th November 2017
First team

Paul Clement has paid tribute to “legend” Leon Britton after adding him to his Swansea City coaching staff.

Britton has taken a new role as player-assistant coach at the Liberty Stadium following the departure of Claude Makelele.

He continues to train as a player – and is available for this weekend’s trip to Burnley after a groin injury – but now has a part to play off the field as well as on it.

And Clement has explained how he sees Britton fitting into his backroom team in the wake of Makelele’s exit.

“Claude Makelele took up the head coach role at Eupen – that was something that came around at short notice,” the Swans boss explained.

“We were not anticipating it, but that happens in football and we wish Claude all the best.

“What was important for me after Claude went was the type of person that came into that role.

“Claude didn’t coach much – I am very active on the training ground and so is Nigel Gibbs.

“Where Claude was more active was in the dressing room – his man-management skills were very good and he had a good relationship with the players.

“I was keen to appoint someone with similar skills – someone who was tight with the dressing room and who has good personal skills as well as good football knowledge.

“Leon ticks all of those boxes, and on top of that he is also a legend at this club.

“I see some people being mentioned as legends of this club after playing 80 games. I don’t see that.

“But Leon has played over 500 times for Swansea. For me, he is a true legend here.”

Britton has played four times this season having been a key figure in the Swans’ successful push for Premier League survival in the spring.

Clement feels the 35-year-old has a role to play on the field in the months ahead – but says it is only natural for the Swans stalwart to be thinking about life after his playing career.

“He is still available to play and when he is not in the matchday squad, he will be on the bench as part of my technical staff,” Clement explained.

“He is attending all coaching meetings now and is very much a staff member.

“I have said to him that I want him to train every day as a player, but when he does to have a bit more of a coach’s mind.

“I believe he still has a role as a player, but with age there is a physical deterioration and the time when he will switch from player to coach is not that far away.”