Joe Rodon spent years admiring Angel Rangel in Swans colours – now he’s hoping to do his number justice.
The Spaniard left the Liberty after an 11-year spell at the Swans which included two promotions, League Cup success and captaining the team in that incredible Europa League victory over Valencia at the Mestalla.
Rodon, born and raised in Swansea, spent much of that time watching on from the stand as an avid season ticket holder.
Now the young centre-back is the one earning plaudits for his performances in the heart of the Swans defence.
And when Rangel departed SA1 this summer before eventually joining Queens Park Rangers on a short-term deal, Rodon was quick to make his own move - taking the defender's squad number.
“Angel is a legend of this club. I am proud to wear his number which is a big thing for me. I asked to have 22 this season because it would mean so much to me,” said Rodon.
“I used to watch his games as a season ticket holder. I loved watching him play for the Swans – he had a great engine and played with so much passion. He always worked his socks off for the team.”
Rodon could come up against Rangel this weekend as QPR visit the Liberty.
It will be the first time the right-back has been back to his former stomping ground since leaving the club.
And Rodon has nothing but praise for a player who made a huge impression on the early stages of his career.
“I remember Angel coaching me for a session at the academy when I was under-13s. To have that experience at a young age was really inspiring,” added the 20-year-old.
“He went on to become a massive legend at this club and gave it great service. To play against him will be a great opportunity and achievement.
“He is a great player and probably one of the most competitive people I have ever met. He has given players like me good advice over the years. I would love the opportunity to play against him.
“He was so competitive in training. Sometimes when I was on his team I was scared to give the ball away because he would be on to you. But that helps you to become a better player.
“His drive to win pushes you to be better.
“He is not just a great player but a great person on and off the pitch and is a player that academy and young players should look up to.”
The Swans are targeting a second home win of the campaign against Steve McClaren’s side, who have picked up results following a slow start to the season.
And Rodon is hoping a change in home form is just around the corner.
“Every game in this league is tough,” he added.
“We want to make sure we turn the Liberty Stadium into a fortress and win our home games.
“We have been brilliant defensively, but we have been unlucky not to score more goals. If we can bring those two elements together and continue to improve we can target three points on Saturday.”
Tickets for our home fixture against QPR are available – get yours HERE or call the ticket office on 01792 616400. Watch the game in style in our 1912 Heritage lounge – contact our dedicated hospitality team on 01792 616628 or on [email protected]