'A lot of people have helped us'
Joe Rodon reckons Swansea City’s academy should take a bow for producing a host of players who are now part of the club’s senior squad.
Rodon, 21, has burst on to the first-team scene this season having been on the Swans’ books since he was just eight years old.
And the central defender is not the only academy product who has become a regular feature in Graham Potter’s starting side.
Connor Roberts, Jay Fulton, Daniel James and Oli McBurnie have all been prominent this season.
There have also been Championship appearances for Cian Harries, George Byers and Courtney Baker-Richardson, while Tyler Reid, Brandon Cooper and Liam Cullen all featured in the Carabao Cup.
And Rodon, whose progress was recognised when he signed a new long-term contract last week, is thankful for the work done with him – and his fellow graduates – within the Swans’ youth set-up.
“I am grateful for everything that the academy has done for me,” he said.
“A lot of people have played a part in my journey so far, and the same goes for a lot of the lads.
“There are players like Connor, Oli, Jay, Cian, George, Dan and me who have come through the academy and gone on to play for the first team.
“A lot of us have played together in the academy and are playing together in the first team now, so the squad is tight.
“The gaffer wanted to create a good atmosphere and I think that has helped.
“The atmosphere is getting better and better every week and hopefully we will keep that going and enjoy a successful season.”
It has been a thrilling campaign thus far for Rodon.
He began on the bench at Sheffield United back in August but, after Federico Fernandez and Jordi Amat left the Liberty Stadium the following week, the Llangyfelach product got his maiden first-team chance against Preston.
“It felt like a long game to make my debut in – we defended for the last 20 minutes and had to deal with wave after wave of attacks,” Rodon recalled.
“But to get three points and a clean sheet was amazing. My parents came pitch side to give me a hug after the final whistle so that was special.”
Rodon, a former Swans season ticket holder, has not looked back.
He made senior appearance No. 13 for his boyhood club at Rotherham last weekend.
And with each passing week, Rodon feels a little more at home in Potter’s starting team.
“The more games I play the more comfortable I will get,” he said.
“Going away from home is a different experience from playing at the Liberty, so I feel like I will benefit from each game I play.
“I feel I am getting better with each game and it is the same for the team. Hopefully we will continue that way.”