Wayne Routledge believes Swansea City’s squad and supporters should feel proud after one of the most testing seasons of his career.
After a summer of major transition in which a number of players left the club, new manager Graham Potter guided the Swans to a 10th place finish in the Championship.
His arrival from Swedish side Ostersund last summer saw an injection of young players graduating from the club’s academy into the first-team fold.
The likes of Daniel James, Joe Rodon and George Byers took their opportunities to shine while the likes of Oli McBurnie, Connor Roberts and Matt Grimes – all of whom had featured previously for the first-team – became key figures in the first XI.
The youthful feel to the team benefited from a sprinkling of experience in the form of Routledge and Nathan Dyer, who were hugely influential in the second half of the campaign.
And despite a challenging year on the pitch, Routledge – who passed 250 appearances for the Swans during the season – believes there was plenty to be positive about during Potter’s first year in charge.
“It was one of the most testing seasons in my career,” said Routledge, who joined the Swans in the summer of 2011.
“In the first half it was a big test not only for me but the for the boys in the squad.
“It was hard because I was not playing, and when I did come in it was at a time where everyone had got to the level they needed to be at while I was working my way to that.
“I struggled with my calf muscles at times, but I played through it because I was in the team and I wanted to stay in it.
“For the team it was a tricky one because it was venturing into the unknown for a lot of the guys while the manager was trying to get the club back to the playing style we had all been accustomed to.
“It was a big job for him and a big challenge for the players because the Championship is a tough division.
“But the players and supporters can go away from this season feeling proud because we have gone back to playing football the right way and this squad has developed significantly since the start of the campaign.”