Swansea City sign Ben Blythe for U21 squad
Swansea City has signed centre-back Ben Blythe from League Two side Doncaster Rovers for an undisclosed fee, subject to international clearance.
The 20-year-old has penned a two-year deal, which includes an option for a further 12 months, and will join up with the club's under-21 squad ahead of the 2022-23 season.
The defender started his youth career at Leeds United before joining Doncaster as a scholar. In 2019-20, Blythe captained Rovers’ under-18s to their first league title since the formation of their academy, and went on to sign professional terms at the south Yorkshire club at the conclusion of that season.
He made his senior debut for Doncaster as a half-time substitute on the final day of the 2020-21 League One season in a defeat to already promoted Peterborough United. He made a further six appearances for the club last term.
“I’m very excited and I can’t wait to get started. I’m really looking forward to it,” said Blythe.
“Everyone at the club has made me feel very welcome and part of the family already. The facilities are spot on so I’m just buzzing to be here.
“The style of play is very different to what I’ve been used to around first-team football, but I think this sort of style suits me.
“I was watching an interview with the manager who said something like ‘we can play the way we want to play, or I can go and sign three big centre-halves’. For me that’s really promising because that tells me that as long as you can play football and keep the ball away from the opponents, that’s what he’s bothered about the most.
“I’m comfortable on the ball and I want to get on the ball, and that’s what the gaffer likes, so hopefully I’ll settle in pretty quickly.
“I’ve had a good wander around Swansea. Me and my girlfriend are moving down and we really like it, we’ve settled in really well to be honest.
“I’m enjoying being further away from home. It’s giving me a chance to grow up and do things for myself because mum and dad aren’t just around the corner anymore so I think mentally it will improve me as a person.”
Blythe made his full senior debut in a Carabao Cup match against Stoke City and was praised for his calm and composed demeanour at the centre of a back three.
With no under-23s team at his former club, the defender has been around the first-team environment since he signed professional terms aged 18. He is hoping to draw on those experiences to help him hit the ground running in SA1.
“I feel like there’s an opportunity to get a lot of game time here to help me to develop, instead of just in bits and bobs and mostly just training," he added.
“I feel like I can take what I’ve learned at Doncaster and put it into the under-21s because I know what it takes to get into a first team and hold that position. This will give me a good chance to do that.
“I had two years travelling up and down the country with the first team watching how senior pros act and how they are in the dressing room, the leadership they bring. I’m trying to take from that and bring it with me into the under-21s.
"I know the coaching staff are committed to replicating the style of play of the first team, and I am sure that is only going to be beneficial for me."