Jack The Lad: The international break

30th August 2017

Premier League football may be on a short break, but supporter-turned-blogger Jack The Lad looks forward to the forthcoming internationals by reminiscing about past matches.

I know the international breaks are a source of frustration for many club fans, especially when they come this early in the season, but I have to admit I enjoy international football as much as I do club football.

Supporting the Swans, I have been lucky over the years that many of the players I have cheered on week in, week out at Vetch Field or the Liberty are the same ones I've cheered on for Wales.

There's always that little bit of extra excitement looking down a Wales teamsheet and seeing the words Swansea City in brackets next to a player's name.

During our first season in the old First Division, we would have as many as six players in the Welsh team.

The excitement of seeing Swans players in the Welsh side is always multiplied if they played a key role in a Welsh win.

One of my favourite memories was watching John Toshack single-handedly sink Scotland in the Home Internationals at Ninian Park back in May 1979.

The win gained some revenge for Scotland's controversial win over Wales at Anfield the previous year and our subsequent failure to qualify for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

At this time, I was pretty much convinced Toshack could walk on water because eight days earlier, the Swans player-manager had brought himself off the bench to score the winning goal against Chesterfield, which clinched our promotion to the old Second Division.

But on that sunny afternoon in Cardiff he proved he could turn water into wine too as he scored a vintage hat-trick which saw Wales beat Scotland 3-0 to the sound of the intoxicated home fans singing “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” to their Scottish counterparts, who had suffered a disappointing tournament in South America.

If that was satisfying, then what happened a year later was on a completely different scale, as Wales walloped the Old Enemy, England, 4-1 at Wrexham.

And just to make the victory extra special, Swans players played a huge part with Leighton James scoring one and making one for future Swan Ian Walsh, while David Giles' cross was turned into his own net by Phil Thompson.

Unfortunately, when Wales announced their squad for this Saturday's World Cup qualifier with Austria and next week's clash with Moldova, there were no Swans players in the squad.

However, there will still be a considerable Swans influence in the camp.

To start with, they will be managed by Swansea-born Chris Coleman, who played 160 matches for his home-town club.

And although there aren't any current Swans players in the squad, there's an unmistakable "made in Swansea" stamp on a number of the players.

Jazz Richards, Joe Allen and Ben Davies were nurtured here at the Swans as youngsters and fledgling footballers, while skipper Ashley Williams was transformed into a top international defender during his time here.

And you could argue that Chelsea youngster Ethan Ampadu has some Swansea City pedigree in his blood. His dad Kwame "Pat" Amadu made 144 appearances for the Swans between 1994 and 1998.

While there are no current Swans in this senior squad, there is plenty of hope we will have some more in the near future with a healthy representation in the Under-21 squad.

Joe Rodon, Jack Davies and Daniel James will be with Wales in Switzerland and Portugal next month, continuing the Swans' tradition as a rich source of talent for the Welsh international team.

With the Swans' Academy structure now firmly in place, we may in future once again see half a dozen Swans line up in the red of Wales.

C'mon you Swans!