Routledge relishing his freedom

9th April 2015
Wayne Routledge will go into Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Everton at the Liberty Stadium relishing his new-found freedom as a front-line striker.
Routledge, who is set to complete his fourth full season as a fully-fledged Swan, has swapped the chalk on his boots as a winger to become Bafe Gomis's regular strike partner after Garry Monk's recent switch to a new four-man diamond formation in midfield.
And despite the fact that the Swans' recent rise through the divisions featured two traditional wingers as given, the transformation has given Monk's men a new impetus for the end of the season challenge to top the club's highest Premier League points tally of 47.
"It's certainly different,'' declared Routledge, "especially as I've always played as a winger since turning professional.
"But I'm enjoying the new role. It gives you more freedom, which I enjoy, although it's also vital to work within the guidelines of the team.
"It was a bit difficult getting the balance right at the start, but I've settled in and things are getting better with every game.
"And, of course, we always have the ability and adaptability to switch the formation back to two wingers with one change from the bench, which is a great option to have.
"It's not just about trying to score goals; it's about stretching teams and getting in behind the defence so that it gives our midfield players more time to play and pick a pass, which technically they are all very good at.

"I think the role of the traditional winger is changing anyway. Traditionally a winger would stick to the touchline with chalk on his boots; try to beat his man with pace or a trick before getting the cross in.
"You've still got players like Jefferson Montero, who is a throwback to those traditional wingers who is quick, direct and gets supporters off their seat. But over the last few years you are seeing more and more wingers playing on the opposite side to their strongest foot; cutting inside to pick a pass or getting a shot off. Players like David Silva at Man City, for example, who can play as a winger but is so good technically that he regularly plays inside.''
Routledge also admits that he's starting to get a better working relationship with his strike-partner Gomis, who is currently in rich scoring form with three goals in the last two games.
"I think Bafe is starting to come into his own; he's starting to be himself,'' added Routledge. "He's quality; a unique type of striker. Sometimes even we don't know what he's going to do, so it must be a nightmare for the opposition.''