Russell Martin | Joel Piroe has gone above and beyond, he's relished the challenge
Russell Martin has praised how Joel Piroe has flourished by embracing the challenge of the Championship at Swansea City.
The Dutchman has 11 goals and four assists to his name from 19 appearances so far following his summer arrival from PSV Eindhoven.
He will be looking to add to those tallies when Swansea City host Reading at the Swansea.com Stadium.
The Royals were the team against whom the 22-year-old opened his Swansea account in a 3-0 Carabao Cup win in August.
And head coach Martin acknowledged that the striker, and his team, have made big strides since then, and hailed the attitude of the forward when it has come to adjusting to a new country and a new division.
“I did not have any expectations of anyone when we came in, we had not had a chance to see anyone over pre-season,” he said.
“When we came in and looked at the squad those first two weeks, I would have to say he has exceeded our expectations since then.
“He has gone above and beyond in terms of how I thought he would impact the team.
“He has been incredible and that is on him, he is such a brilliant guy, a brilliant character and he just wants to learn.
“He is a young guy who is really comfortable with himself in terms of his day-to-day actions and his behaviour, even down to the clothes he wears.
“We love Joel, he is a confident and self-assured boy, but he is humble and he wants to learn.
“He has got no fear, he came in with no real idea of what the Championship is like, and when it hits you the options are to sink a little bit or you can relish the opportunity and the challenge. He has relished it.
“You can see his team-mates really trust him and enjoy playing with him, especially Jamie Paterson who he had another assist for the other night.
“Joel just has to keep working and keep improving, I think he will. He is angry after every game if he has not scored or affected it but we love having him here.
“It was a big night for him at Reading in August, we felt it was starting to take shape and Joel was a part of that.”
And Martin was also keen to stress the importance of how welcoming an environment Piroe has found in SA1, and believes the openness and friendliness of the squad is a major asset.
“Joel is just himself, he might take a bit of stick from the guys sometimes for his clothes but he doesn’t care, he just gets on with things and it’s not that common to have a group that can express themselves, do what they want without being mocked,” added Martin.
“They are all accepting of everyone and that makes it an easy dressing room to come in and work with.
“They are an open and honest group who have put their egos to one side, which is rare in football, and we are lucky to be working with a group like that.”