'I can't wait for more'
George Byers reckons his decision to stay on at Swansea City has been justified after he became the 11th player to make his league debut for the club under Graham Potter.
Byers signed a new two-year Liberty contract in the summer because he believed he could make the first-team breakthrough in SA1.
And last season’s young player of the year has since made the breakthrough at senior level, starting in the Carabao Cup tie against Crystal Palace and then getting his league bow at Stoke on Tuesday night.
Now Byers, who won praise from Graham Potter after a solid display on the left of midfield, is hungry to claim a regular slot in the manager’s plans.
“It was really pleasing for me to be out there and to make my first league appearance for Swansea,” Byers said.
“That is what I have been working towards. The main reason why I signed my new contract was because I see my future here and I see something to work towards.
“Stoke are a tough team to face, especially away from home.
“But every experience I am getting at the moment is working in my favour and I can’t wait to get out on the pitch again and show what I can do.”
Byers’s one taste of senior football before this season came as a late substitute in former club Watford’s 5-0 FA Cup triumph over Charlton back in January 2015.
A couple of years after leaving the Hornets for Swansea, he now looks capable of staking a claim for consistent first-team football.
Byers could not help prevent the Swans from falling to a contentious 1-0 defeat at Stoke.
But despite disappointment over the result, the 22-year-old savoured the moment after playing his part at the bet365 Stadium.
“It was a great experience,” Byers said.
“I really enjoyed the game even though we were disappointed not to get anything out of it. I thought we were the better team for the majority of the match.
“We gave everything we could but sometimes you don’t get the results you want in football.
“There are still plenty of positives to take and I will take everything I can from the game.
“I am proud to get my first league start and hopefully there are many more to come.”
Byers, who scored 10 goals in 32 games for the under-23s last season, will now aim to get a third first-team appearance under his belt at Middlesbrough this weekend.
“We need to dust ourselves down and look to go again with another tough test to come at Middlesbrough,” Byers said.
“If I get another opportunity then great. If not, I will keep working hard to get more opportunities further down the line.”