Ludvigsen's taking it all in his stride
At just 14 years of age, a lot has come pretty quickly for Kai Ludvigsen.
Ludvigsen has broken into the Swans Under-18s set up this season and finds himself coached by a former Wales international along with a man who knows just what it takes to break into the first team.
All this while still studying at school.
But the defender, who hails from Barry, takes it all in his stride.
With genetics combining his mother’s athletic qualities from her time winning the 400m Welsh Championships and his father’s stint playing football regionally, it is no wonder that Ludvigsen has got up to speed with an older age group already.
Under the watchful eyes of under-16s' coaches Matt Jones and Paul Reid, Ludvigsen has gone on to play a handful of games for the under-18s' age group against opposition four years his senior.
It is a challenge he embraces.
“I find the U18s level a lot quicker and more physical than at the younger age groups, which is to be expected,” he said.
“At U18s you have to think a lot quicker on the ball. Whereas at under-16s you can take a few touches, at U18s if you take one more touch then they can take the ball off you quite easily.
“As the U18s use a different formation I am getting used to playing as part of a back three. I am in the right centre-back position and I’m learning about the distances between the centre-backs along with when to go out and press the winger and when to stay in.
“Matt and Paul have been really influential, and I’ve learned a lot already under them in the U16s set up.
“They have played at a high level and for me it’s ideal because they can pass on their knowledge to me and the rest of the squad.”
Ludvigsen has spent the last two years with the Swans Academy following a successful trial after spending his time playing locally in Barry.
Born to an English mum and Welsh dad, his surname comes from Norwegian ancestors via Belgium.
Yet there is no doubt where his allegiances lie, having been selected recently for Wales U16s’ double-header with Slovakia.
He is well thought of in the academy, but there is a lot of work ahead before he can start dreaming of following in the footsteps of fellow academy graduates Joe Allen, Ben Davies, Connor Roberts and Joe Rodon.
“The dream is to play for the first team. Everyone in the academy shares the same dream we want to make it to the top,” said Ludvigsen.
“Not many get to do that, but we all train to the best of our ability every day and put in the hard work.
“I’ve made the step into the under-18s, and I want to play well at that level and the next step will be to move into the under-23s.
“But I know I have to keep improving and work hard with the under-18s if I want to progress into under-23s selection.
“It’s amazing to see the likes of Connor Roberts and Joe Rodon playing in the first team. They came through the academy and progressed into the first team.
“It shows that the club will give youth a chance if they are good enough, and it’s a big boost to us all in the academy as we can see the incentive is there."