Swans boss Martin pleased to see Harry Darling grasp starting opportunity
Russell Martin was delighted to see Harry Darling grasp his chance with both hands as the defender made his presence felt in the victory over Sunderland.
The centre-half, a summer signing from MK Dons, scored his second goal of the season with a close-range finish from a set-piece, and then produced a number of key defensive interventions to fend off a Black Cats fightback in the second half.
The 23-year-old has had to be patient over recent weeks, with Nathan Wood, Ben Cabango and Kyle Naughton dovetailing well as a defensive trio.
But, with Naughton handed a rest at the end of a gruelling week, Darling made the most of his opportunity.
“I am really pleased for Harry because he has had to be patient as Woody and Ben Cabango have been outstanding, as has Kyle playing between them,” said head coach Martin.
“The most pleasing part of Harry’s performance today was how he defended the box in the second half, making blocks and defending really robustly.
“Sometimes it can take people a little bit of time to adjust to a new environment and new surroundings, and playing at a different level.
“But we would not have pushed so hard to sign him in the summer if we did not know what he is going to be and what he is capable of.
“It’s just that Nathan Wood and Ben Cabango have been so good. But it was a brilliant performance from him, he looked a threat from set-pieces, as we did throughout and all credit to (set-piece coach) Andy Parslow for the work he has put in.
“You can see it is paying off, and the guys that came in did really well today because we needed their energy."