A family affair for the Cotterills
Former Wales international David Cotterill enjoyed a fine stint with Swansea City, and is hopeful his cousin - under-15s midfielder Joel - will also enjoy his experience plying his trade in SA1.
David, who made 35 appearances for the Swans across two spells with the club between 2009 and 2012, explained that football runs through the family and is pleased to see his young cousin progressing.
“It’s nice to see that he is keeping his head focused, he has recently signed a new contract which is really good for him,” said the 32-year-old.
“We are quite blessed as a family because we do have a lot of good footballers in the family, but not everyone has kept that dedication to try and follow their dreams to become a professional footballer.”
Having been a part of the Swans Academy for a number of years, Joel made his under-18s debut as a substitute against Tottenham Hotspur in January, before featuring for the club’s under-23s the following month in a Premier League Cup tie against Reading.
The youngster also found the net in his first start for the under-18s with the side’s only goal in a 5-1 defeat to Leicester in February.
“I’ve spoken to him on occasions and we touch base now and again when he is playing,” added David.
“I often contact him to wish him luck ahead of his games for Swansea or Wales Under-16s, and to say well done when he has played well.”
Cotterill hailed the professionalism of the Swans' youth set-up, and feels it is the perfect place for Joel to develop.
“The academy and the club in general is very professional, there are great people there who want the best for the young players coming through so I think he is definitely at the right place,"said David.
“With everything that is going on at the moment, it may seem extremely difficult as the young players will be itching to play and continue what they have been doing.
"Hopefully that will benefit them and give them a boost too as it will put more hunger in their bellies to get back in and try as best as they can.”
Seeing his cousin pull on the white shirt has also brought back fond memories for the former winger.
“When I signed for the club, the culture and the style of football that was being played was brilliant," he said.
“I really loved playing in that team and the fans were great as well.
“You could tell that we had something special and we were building towards promotion, which we eventually got.”