Roberts departs Swans to link up with Coleman in China

14th June 2018
First team

Swansea City goalkeeping coach Tony Roberts has left the club to join Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune.

Roberts will link up with Chris Coleman, who he worked alongside with Wales, after the former Swans defender was installed as manager last Sunday.

It ends a three-year spell at the Liberty for Roberts, who joined the club from Arsenal during Garry Monk’s managerial reign.

Highly-thought of at the Liberty, his coaching techniques helped develop the likes of Lukasz Fabianski, Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Erwin Mulder and Gerhard Tremmel.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Swansea – I’ve met some great people and made a lot of friends,” said Roberts.

“Moving to Swansea was the first time I’ve had to be based outside of London for a prolonged period, but it was a decision that helped me massively.

“I’ve worked with some fantastic goalkeepers and the club let me develop them in my own way.

“It has been a rollercoaster ride in the last three years, but I’m very grateful to the club for giving me the opportunity to work here and also to the fans who always had a lot of positive things to say about my work.”

Roberts will link up with Coleman, who steered Wales to the Euro 2016 semi-finals, next week.

Hebei China Fortune have invested heavily in their squad, with the likes of Argentinian duo Javier Mascherano and Ezequil Lavezzi and former Arsenal forward Gervinho among their star players.

And Roberts is relishing the challenge of working with the trio on top of the opportunity to help develop football in China.

“The move itself has come around very quickly,” added Roberts. “This time last week I was preparing for the Championship and discussing how we could improve the academy with the chairman.

“But when Chris phoned me to offer me the job, I felt it was one which I couldn’t turn down because it is a chance to experience new things and also because I think it is a challenge which will really test me.

“I was out in China with Wales recently, and I know how serious they are in improving the game out there.

“So it is a big opportunity to experience new things on a professional and personal level.”

Roberts’ departure comes just days after Graham Potter was installed as the new Swans boss.

And the 48-year-old expects Potter to steer the club in the right direction.

“After speaking to Graham I could sense that he will be the right man for the job at Swansea,” added Roberts.

“It has been a tough few years with managers coming in to fight the flames, but I told him he has a great opportunity to work from a clean slate and rebuild.

“He is a bright, ambitious young manager and I think he will do a good job and steer the club in the right direction.”

Everyone at Swansea City would like to thank Tony for his service to the club and wish him well in his new role.