Joe Rodon Checkatrade Trophy
10th January 2017
Academy youngster Joe Rodon believes this season's restructured Checkatrade Trophy is helping young players prove themselves against EFL competition.
The centre-back, who has progressed through the club's academy over the last decade, believes the exposure of playing against professional players has benefited their season.
The development side are currently ten points clear at the top of Premier League 2 (Division 2), in the quarter-final of the International Cup and beat Newport County, Plymouth Argyle and Norwich academy to set up tonight's last-16 tie against Wolves Under-21s at the Liberty (7pm).
"The Checkatrade Trophy has been a great experience," he said. "I am proud at how far we have come, but we know we are capable of going further.
"The competition has given players like myself the chance to play against bigger and better footballers and given us extra experience.
"Teams we have faced from League One and League Two have been more physical and play a different style of football, which we have had to adapt to.
"It makes us overall better players in every department. The way the competition has been set up this season is a perfect bridge between development league football and first-team level, and that helps us develop."
Rodon, who has featured 15 times for the Swans' development squad this season, was part of the side which defeated Wolves 4-3 in Premier League 2 last August.
The young Swans have gone on to win 15 more games in all competitions since then, but despite their good run of form the Wales U21 defender knows they can't take anything for granted.
"There are no easy games. Every match this season is tough and Wolves have proved this season they are one of the best academy sides out there," he added.
"Just like us, they will have something to prove tonight, but if we are at our best and play to our full potential, I think we can progress to the next round."
You can read the full interview with Joe in tonight's special Checkatrade Trophy edition of Jack Magazine for just £1.
Tickets for the game are still available. Swans supporters can purchase their tickets in-person on the night or by contacting 0844 815 6665.
Adult - £5
Concessions* - £1
*Concessions are classed as Seniors (60+), Students with NUS card, and U16s.