Middlesbrough Ben Wilmot

Cooper praises maturity of defensive pairing

20th June 2020
First team

Steve Cooper praised the mature performances of young centre-halves Ben Cabango and Ben Wilmot as they helped Swansea City to a 12th clean sheet of the season at Middlesbrough.

With Joe Rodon sidelined by a thigh injury, the two 20-year-olds produced rock solid displays against a powerful Middlesbrough attack to ensure goalkeeper Freddie Woodman was rarely troubled.

The Swans defensive record has been one of the better ones in the Championship, and they now have a dozen shut-outs to their name despite Rodon and Mike van der Hoorn – the first-choice pairing at the start of the campaign – having lengthy spells on the sidelines.

The Swans are hopeful Wales international Rodon will be able to feature against Luton at the Liberty next weekend, but Cooper did not want to deflect any attention from Wilmot and Cabango’s showings.

“We’re not sure on Joe, to be honest,” said Cooper.

Middlesbrough Ayew Cabango

“He has a slight thigh strain, but I want to say how well I thought the two Bens played.

“They were brilliant at the back, particularly defensively.

“If you think about the players they have played against – the likes of Rudy Gestede, and then Ashley Fletcher comes on – they’ve looked – for their age – confident and composed against such talented and experienced forwards.

“I’m so happy for them and it bodes well for us.”