Swans a real education for Wayne
21st November 2013
He can include a long list of former clubs, but Wayne Routledge insists life at Swansea City has proved the ultimate education.
Now at his tenth club, the winger is currently enjoying his third season at the Liberty following his switch from Newcastle United in June 2011.
He has proved an integral part of the team's success since his arrival, having clocked up 30 appearances in his first year in SA1 before five goals in 44 games last term signalled arguably the finest season of his career.
Now 28, Routledge feels very much at home at a club he feels has helped developed his game and in January he penned a new deal that will keep him in South West Wales until 2016.
And, as he points out, working under Michael Laudrup has been a massive benefit.
"It's a really, really good club," said Routledge, who made his pro debut at Crystal Palace 12 years ago. "The football that is played here is the way the game should be played in my opinion.
"I wish I had found a club like this a few years earlier because what it can do for your game is amazing. It gives you confidence and belief that you can play the right football and get results. It's a great place to be.
"The manager takes it up a level when he trains. To see some of the things he does is amazing!
"When we are training, he stops it and says 'you did this, but did you see this?'. You can't help but learn from that.
"Football is a game where if you stop learning then you will stop enjoying and improving yourself.
"In the early years of my career I just wanted to get the ball and run and run and run, but I understand the game a lot more now.
"I have learned so much in the last few years here. I understand when to run with the ball, when to pass it and when to keep it.
"And, with the goals I scored last season, I think am a more rounded player now."
The Swans go up against one of Routledge's former clubs Fulham on Saturday as they head to Craven Cottage.
Laudrup's side hope to bounce back from the 3-3 home draw with Stoke which saw Routledge penalised for handball inside the box in the final moments.
He added: "Not just for me, as a team it was very frustrating.
"We didn't have a good first half, but in the second half we showed them what we are about.
"We went from not deserving anything after the first half to going to deserving all three points. To have it taken away for a decision that is very judgemental is very harsh. But it's something we have to live with.
"In football there's always another game to put it right, and that comes against Fulham.
"We won 3-0 up there in our first season in the Premier League - that was one of our best performances in the top flight. It was an amazing performance.
"And, of course, we won there last season too, but they took the points on the last day at the Liberty in May.
"Both teams will be targeting a victory on Saturday, but hopefully we will continue our good record at Craven Cottage."