Graham Potter has spoken of his pride in the progress made by Swansea City’s young guns in the early stages of the Championship season.
And the Swans boss believes the decision to give a number of academy products a first-team chance has “breathed life” into the club.
George Byers became the fourth product of the Swans’ under-23 squad to make his league debut for the club at Stoke in midweek, following in the footsteps of Joe Rodon, Dan James and Courtney Baker-Richardson.
Development squad old boys Connor Roberts and Oli McBurnie have become firmly established in the first team under Potter, while summer recruits Bersant Celina, Barrie McKay, Yan Dhanda, Joel Asoro, Declan John and Cameron Carter-Vickers plus Matt Grimes – all of whom are under the age of 24 – have had a big part to play so far this season.
Four more academy players – Tyler Reid, Brandon Cooper, Cian Harries and Liam Cullen – were handed senior Swans debuts in the Carabao Cup.
And Potter reckons the influx of youngsters has been a big positive.
“The truth is that you never know how young players will do when they come in and make their debuts,” said the Swans manager.
“But I know there is a lot of work that has gone into these players.
“Our academy has had a lot of investment and there are a lot of good people working there.
“All players need an opportunity. I wouldn’t say I’ve been surprised or not surprised about how the young players have done this season, I have just been very proud of how they have gone about their work.
“As players and people they want to improve. They are humble and they are happy to be here.
“From the supporters’ point of view, they are good people to have at Swansea City.”
The loss of numerous senior players following relegation from the Premier League has opened up opportunities in the first team.
And Potter says he planned all along to give development players a chance.
“My intention was always to come and look at what was here internally,” he added.
“It’s hard to throw players in at Premier League level. It’s a big jump.
“But we were looking at what was here when we came in and it became evident that there were some good players. It’s then about trying to help them and give them an opportunity.
“I think giving those young lads a chance breathes life into the club. Academy players can see there is a chance for them here and also the academy coaches get a boost.”