Harry Jones has long-term sights set on senior breakthrough
Young defender Harry Jones hopes he can follow in the footsteps of former Arsenal team-mates Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe by going on to make the breakthrough into the senior ranks after a fine first season at Swansea City.
The 17-year-old, who joined the Swans last summer, enjoyed a productive maiden season in SA1; regularly stepping up to the under-23s side and signing his first professional contract.
Full-back Jones previously spent nine years in the academy ranks at Arsenal, where he played alongside some notable names including Saka and Smith Rowe.
The duo have progressed right through the youth set-up and subsequently enjoyed frequent first-team opportunities under Mikel Arteta last season; helping the Gunners reach the Europa League semi-finals along the way.
The burgeoning talent of both players was also nurtured by Swansea boss Steve Cooper during his tenure in charge of England’s under-17s side.
Saka, who was recently named in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, was part of the side that reached the 2018 European Championship semi-finals.
A few months earlier, Smith Rowe was in the young Lions squad – along with future Swans defenders Marc Guehi and Joel Latibeaudiere – that won the 2017 World Cup after coming from behind to beat Spain 5-2 in the final.
Cambridgeshire-born Jones reaped the benefits of spending time training with players of that calibre at Arsenal, and he is hopeful that he can follow suit by making his breakthrough in the professional game.
“It was great to spend nine years at a top-flight club,” he said.
“Day in day out, you were constantly working on your technique.
“Then once you have the technical ability, it’s about putting it into play and developing your physicality.
“I used to train with players like Bukayo and Emile who are obviously coming through now.
“It’s crazy to think that I was with those two, but hopefully there will be boys saying that about me one day.
“We used to go up to the Colney training ground on the odd occasion and spend time around the first-team players.
“The coaches there would tell me to always focus, keep working hard and not let it get to my head – no matter how well I was doing.
“The whole experience helped me get where I am today.”