Tivonge Rushesha has expressed his gratitude to his Swansea City Under-23s team-mates and coaching staff following his extended run during their Premier League Cup adventure.
The young Swans reached the semi-finals of the competition for a third consecutive year under Gary Richards and Cameron Toshack.
After topping Group E, they beat Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest in the second round and quarter-finals, before succumbing to eventual champions Everton in the last four.
First-year scholar Rushesha, who has been with the Swans since under-12 level, made five appearances during the run; maintaining his place in the squad following his debut in February’s 2-2 draw with Hull City.
The 16-year-old started four of those including the semi-final defeat by Everton at the Liberty, as he joined the likes of Joe Rodon and Liam Cullen in an exclusive group of players to appear for the under-23s at that age.
The Zimbabwe-born full-back, who also played 18 times for the under-18s in Premier League South this season, has taken plenty of confidence from his run in the side, and was grateful for the support he received from his team-mates and coaches along the way.
“It always means a lot knowing that the coaches have faith in me, especially when it comes to starting me in the semi-finals of the Premier League Cup,” he said.
“The rest of the players have continually helped me throughout every game and made it very easy for me to slot into the team whenever I was needed.
“It gives me a lot of confidence to kick on next season.”