Gary Richards | Carroll presence will benefit U23s

18th August 2019

Swansea City Under-23s’ coach Gary Richards believes the inclusion of Tom Carroll will provide an important learning experience for his young players in their Premier League 2 Division 2 clash with Aston Villa.

Head coach Steve Cooper revealed last week that the 27-year-old midfielder will make his first appearance in a Swansea shirt for 10 months when the development side welcome Villa to Landore on Monday (7pm).

Due to persistent hip injury problems, Carroll last featured for the Swans in a 3-1 win over Blackburn Rovers at the Liberty last October.

He made two substitute appearances during his loan spell at Villa in the second half of the campaign, which was curtailed when injury issues reared their head again.

Carroll, who has since undergone successful surgery and returned to first-team training, linked up with the under-23s ahead of the game, and Richards is confident his influence will serve as positive inspiration for the rest of the squad.

“When a professional footballer like Tom drops into the side, you know it’s an opportunity for our younger players to use it as a good learning experience,” the said Richards.

“Tom’s had a couple of injuries and we know the game is there for him to get minutes, but the players can’t fail to learn from someone like him.

“He’s 27 and already has a wealth of experience having played in the Premier League and for various clubs.

“He’s been training with us and helping the younger lads and, as a result, you can see that their performance levels have gone up another notch.

“It’s great to have him on board for this game.”

The under-23s are aiming to cap off what has been a hugely successful week for the Swansea City academy.

Three of its graduates – Ben Cabango, Jordon Garrick and Kees de Boer – made their first-team debuts in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup victory over Northampton Town at the Liberty.

Jordon Garrick

That came after they all appeared in the development side’s 1-0 win against Norwich City on the opening weekend of the Premier League 2 Division 2 season.

And Richards is hopeful his players can build on their momentum with another positive performance against Villa.

“Everyone in the academy was delighted to see all three players make their senior debuts. They have got big smiles on their faces this week,” he added.

“It’s always a huge boost when you see players who have come through the ranks to make their first-team debuts.

“All coaches who have worked with them take a huge sense of pride in that, and it also offers plenty of incentive to the rest of the players.

“We’re certainly in a good place following last week’s win.

“We continue to look for improvement and see the things that we’ve worked on in training transferred onto the pitch.

“A good team performance is what we want and, hopefully, the result will come with that.”

**Supporters will be able to watch the under-23s’ clash with Aston Villa live on the Swansea City homepage and the club’s official Facebook page from 7pm on Monday.