Swansea City century in sight for Connor Roberts
His dream as a child was pulling on the Swansea City shirt just once. Now Connor Roberts has a century of appearances in sight for his local club.
The right-back’s progression at the Liberty has skyrocketed since being handed his senior debut in an FA Cup tie at Wolves in January 2018.
Including that stalemate at Molineux, the 24-year-old has 92 games in all competitions to his name – significantly surpassing his original target – and five goals.
He made 11 appearances in 2017-18 after then boss Carlos Carvalhal made his dream come true.
The 2018-19 campaign conjured 49 appearances under Graham Potter, while Roberts has clocked up 32 this term with the Swans led by head coach Steve Cooper before the season was halted with nine games remaining due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
His performances led him to international recognition last season. If one run out for his club was his target, then it’s safe to say playing – or scoring - for Wales was not on the agenda. And neither was helping them qualify for a major tournament in the European Championships.
“When I was a little boy I just wanted to play one game for Swansea City. That was it. Now I’m approaching 100,” reflected Roberts, who was a season ticket holder at the club while progressing through the Swans’ academy set up.
“After that game at Wolves I was thinking it would be nice to play a few more games and maybe score a goal.
“I had never thought of playing for Wales until I got the call up for the China Cup.
“I was on the bench but didn’t play in the first game, which I thought was fair enough. I’d only played a few games for the Swans.
“Then, in the second game, the manager said I was going on against Uruguay and that was great.
“Then I get my full debut against Ireland and somehow I scored with my left foot.”
That goal in the Nations League was the first of his senior career, but another followed soon after.
It came in the Swans’ 3-0 home win over Queens Park Rangers. A first Swans goal, a first celebration in front of the Jack Army at the Liberty.
“For Swansea, I never thought I’d score,” added the right-back. “That was unbelievable as I’d scored a few weeks earlier for Wales against Ireland.
“I wasn’t going on the pitch thinking I’m going to score today.
“I got my first for the Swans and then I managed a few more soon after, which was cracking.
“After a few goals it gave me a lot of confidence and I’d tell the assistant Billy Reid that I just wanted to get into the box as the feeling of scoring is unbelievable.
“It’s not happened this season for me, but I’m doing what I can to help the team.”