Leon Britton Swansea City Swans America
16th July 2016
Leon Britton is optimistic that Swansea City is about to produce some stars from within as a youthful squad prepare to sign off in America with a game against Richmond Kickers.
Francesco Guidolin's men will look to build on their 4-0 win over Charlotte Independence when they play the Kickers on Saturday night (7pm US time; midnight UK time).
A host of youngsters will again feature for the Swans who have been without Lukasz Fabianski, Neil Taylor, Ashley Williams, Ki Sung-Yueng, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jefferson Montero on their pre-season trip.
And Britton, one of the senior figures in the travelling party, has been impressed by the under-21 players who have stepped up to the plate in the States.
Goalkeeper Josh Vickers, full-back Connor Roberts and striker Ollie McBurnie, all 20, plus 18-year-old duo Joe Rodon - a central defender - and Daniel James - a winger - have all got a first taste of senior Swans action on the tour.
And Britton said: "There are some young lads out here and it's good for them to have a chance to show the manager what they are about, because he might not have known too much about them.
"He can see them up close and they have an opportunity in these games to really make an impression.
"They have to try to do enough to make sure they will be in the first-team squad and training with the senior lads when the rest of the boys come back, because they are all promising players.
"Josh came from Arsenal and has a very good pedigree. I think he has played over 100 times in the Ryman League and he's a confident lad.
"Connor Roberts has come back after doing really well last season at Yeovil.
"Joe Rodon and Dan James are two young lads, but I think everyone has been impressed with them. They trained with us a few times last season as well so we have seen they are talented players.
"And Ollie McBurnie showed the potential he has got with a really good goal against Charlotte.
"Maybe some of the fans don't know too much about them yet, but it's exciting to see a few more young players coming through."
As well as the new crop of youngsters, the likes of Adam King, Jay Fulton and Kenji Gorre are still trying to establish themselves in the senior squad having had brief tastes of first-team football in the past.
"In my time at the club we haven't had too many making the breakthrough," Britton added.
"We have had Joe Allen and Ben Davies, then you have players like Jazz Richards and Shaun MacDonald.
"It would be nice to see one or two more players coming through into the first team.
"I know a lot of hard work has gone into the academy and the coaching side of it. Maybe that wasn't in place a few years back and hopefully now we are starting to see the benefits of that hard work."
At 33, Britton is one of the veterans on the Swans' books - but he is still keeping up with the new boys on tour.
"I am still going all right," he said. "Running-wise I feel pretty strong and I am just happy to be part of things after not knowing what was going to go on last summer.
"We will see what happens. I just want to keep fit and show the manager I can still keep going."
Guidolin is likely to make mass changes during the Richmond game to ensure as many players as possible get minutes under their belt.
The Swans return home on Sunday to continue their build-up towards the new Premier League campaign, which is now less than a month away.
And Britton reckons their stay in Washington DC has been beneficial.
"We always like coming to America - it's a good trip and it's been enjoyable," he added.
"The weather has been hot, but in pre-season the first week is always the same - it's always tough.
"There is a lot of running and a lot of hard work to be put in, but you feel the benefits of all that work later in the season and the squad is looking good."