Russell Martin | Young guns are ensuring we face selection headaches

25th October 2022
First team
Russell Martin Ollie Cooper

Russell Martin has heaped praise on Swansea City’s young guns and admits their recent performances will make team selection an increasingly difficult task as absent senior players return.

Despite the absences at various stages of the likes of Joel Piroe, Joe Allen, Ryan Manning and Jamie Paterson, the Swans have been able to embark on an excellent run of seven wins in their last nine games to climb to fourth in the Championship table.

The likes of Ollie Cooper, Luke Cundle, Harry Darling and Joel Latibeaudiere have made an impression when handed opportunities – although they are by no means alone in that regard.

And, following the weekend south Wales derby victory over Cardiff – in which Swansea fielded the joint-youngest starting line-up in the Championship this season, equalling their own mark from the win over Reading – head coach Martin could not hide his delight at how a small squad is generating genuine competition for places.

“The excitement for us is that at some point we will have Joe Allen back, Joel Piroe will be back very soon, as will Ryan Manning,” said Martin.

“There is Jamie Paterson too, and those are all guys who have been huge for us, and they are not involved at the moment.

Luke Cundle Cardiff

“The young guys have just stepped up so brilliantly. I absolutely love watching Ollie Cooper play, also Luke Cundle, Nathan Wood, Ben Cabango, Harry Darling, Joel Latibeaudiere.

“I know I’m not far off naming the whole team but – helped by guys like Matt Grimes and Jay Fulton -  they are so brave.

“I am really proud of the team and the way they are performing and helping while key players are out at the minute.

“We spoke about needing to be together and I think you could see that in terms of the way the lads who were not involved celebrated and were in the dressing room supporting their team-mates.

“It just helps us so much, it also means we have real competition and the guys know they have to keep at it because getting in our team at the moment is becoming tough. It’s a really nice problem for us.”