Connor Roberts France Wales

Swansea City academy products at Euro 2020

11th June
Academy

When Wales kick-off their European Championship campaign against Switzerland on Saturday, there will be a heavy Swansea City influence running through Rob Page’s squad.

After all, seven members of the 26-man squad are alumni of the Swans academy. Six of them graduated to the first team in SA1.

Subsequently, those six would go on to win their first Wales caps while with Swansea City.

Here, we run through the seven players who spent part, or all of their development on the club’s books.

Connor Roberts

The defender has been on Swansea’s books since the age of nine, and recently brought up his 150th appearance in the club’s colours.

Roberts was given his first-team chance by Carlos Carvalhal in January of 2018, making his debut in an FA Cup tie at Wolves before making his Premier League bow as a substitute at Newcastle.

He has been an integral part of the side and club ever since, with his homegrown status – Roberts hails from Crynant – making him one of the most popular players with supporters.

He enjoyed a superb 2020-21 season, scoring five goals and registering seven assists from 50 appearances.

Roberts has won 26 caps for his country, scoring one goal in a win against the Republic of Ireland, and is expected to be handed a starting role at the tournament.

Ben Cabango

The centre-half joined the Swans at the age of 14 – having been let go by Newport – and has gone from strength to strength at the Liberty.

Cabango captained the Swans at every age-grade he played, while he enjoyed a successful loan spell with TNS in 2018, which saw him score in the Champions League.

The now 21-year-old was handed his first-team debut by Steve Cooper in the Carabao Cup clash with Northampton Town, and his subsequent Championship bow at Huddersfield saw him become the first player born in the 21st century to play for the club in league action.

He has made 61 appearances in total for the Swans, and was an integral part of the run to the play-off final during the recently completed season.

He won the first of his three caps to date against Finland last September.

Joe Allen

The ‘Welsh Pirlo’ now plies his trade with Stoke, but his football education unfolded during his time with the Swans.

Handed his first-team debut as a 16 year old, the midfielder went from strength to strength and, by the second half of the 2008-09 season, he was seeing regular game time at Championship level while still a teenager.

Allen’s influence continued to grow and he was an integral part of the promotion-winning side from the 2010-11 season, and continued to impress throughout the club’s debut season in the Premier League.

A move to Liverpool with Brendan Rodgers followed in the summer of 2012 before Allen made the switch to the Potteries on the back of his outstanding displays at Euro 2016.

Allen won his first cap against Estonia in May 2009, and has since made 59 appearances for his country.

He represented Team GB at the 2012 Olympics, and was named in the team of the tournament for Euro 2016 after helping Wales reach the semi-finals.

Ben Davies

Davies initially joined the Swans at the age of seven before moving to Denmark for three years with his family.

When they returned to South Wales, Davies returned to Swansea City and continued his development.

The defender made his debut as a 19-year-old in 2012, being handed an opportunity by Michael Laudrup after Neil Taylor had suffered a broken ankle in a draw with Sunderland.

His performances belied his age, and he would prove an accomplished and reliable performer as Swansea won the League Cup to claim their first major honour and secured a top-half finish in the Premier League.

Davies remained a regular the following season, playing his part in the Europa League adventure, but then made the move to Tottenham in the summer of 2014.

He won the first of his 60 caps to date in a World Cup qualifying win over Scotland, and was an outstanding performer at Euro 2016 before missing the semi-final against Portugal through suspension.

Joe Rodon

The Llangyfelach defender had long been predicted for big things with the Swans having first joined the club’s ranks at the age of eight.

A former season-ticket holder at the Liberty, Rodon progressed through the ranks and got his first exposure to the first-team set up when he was named on the bench for an FA Cup tie at Oxford in January 2016.

He was again an unused substitute for the Premier League fixture at Arsenal in 2017, but was handed his debut by Graham Potter in a home win over Preston in August 2019.

Rodon went from strength to strength, despite suffering injury setbacks along the way, and was one of the first names on the team sheet when fit.

He won the first of his 14 Wales caps against Azerbaijan in September 2019, and his impressive poise on the ball and physical prowess saw him targeted and signed by Premier League side Tottenham in October 2020.

Daniel James

Speedster James joined Swansea’s academy from Hull in 2015, and wasted little time making an impression with his pace and trickery.

He struck up an effective understanding with the likes of Oli McBurnie at under-23 level, and was rewarded with a goalscoring first-team debut in the FA Cup rout of Notts County in 2018.

A league debut followed under Graham Potter and James soon began to mark himself out as one of the most exciting players in the Championship.

Stunning solo goals against Brentford and Stoke City just added to his burgeoning reputation, and he would eventually make the move to Manchester United in the summer of 2019.

By then he had already been capped by Wales, making his senior international bow in a friendly against Albania in November 2018.

James – who had featured for Wales at the Toulon Tournament in 2017 – scored on his competitive debut against Slovakia, and has won 20 caps.

Rhys Norrington-Davies

Rhys Norrington-Davies

Saudi Arabia-born Norrington-Davies had a brief spell with the Swansea academy in 2017, before moving on to Sheffield United.

He has since had loan spells with Barrow, Rochdale, Luton Town and Stoke City, with his performances for the latter two in the Championship catching the eye of the Wales management.

He has won five caps since his debut against Bulgaria in October 2020.

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