Swansea City's Joe Rodon inspired by Gareth Bale

24th March 2017

Joe Rodon heads into Swansea City Under-23s' "biggest game of the season" against Porto this weekend having been inspired by a meeting with Gareth Bale.
Rodon is set to be part of the Swans side who will bid to book a place in the final of the Premier League International Cup when they face Porto at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday (12.30pm).
The centre-back's preparation for the game involved spending a day training with Chris Coleman's senior Wales squad.
With former Swan Ben Davies doing some recovery work having played for Tottenham last Sunday, Coleman wanted an extra defender to train with Wales as they began preparations for tonight's World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland.
And after a call from Swans goalkeeping coach Tony Roberts - who also fills that role for Wales - Rodon was summoned to the national team's Vale of Glamorgan training base.
"It was amazing - I have never experienced anything like it," the 19-year-old said.



"Gareth Bale was on a different level, as you would expect. Everything he did was up there - you could see why he is one of the best players in the world even in one training session.
"And it wasn't just him. You could see the quality throughout the squad, although it wasn't really until afterwards that it sank in.
"Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor and Joe Allen looked after me and I just tried to be as professional as I could."
Llangyfelach-product Rodon, who has been on the Swans' books for more than a decade, has been capped by Wales at under-21 level.
And he admits his taste of life with Coleman's seniors has strengthened his desire to progress.
"To establish myself with the Wales squad would be fantastic," he added.



"But the first target for me is to try to do that at under-21 level. I have got a couple of caps but hopefully I can add to them."
The first priority for Rodon is to continue to make an impression in a Swans shirt.
He has been part the side who have already secured the Premier League 2 Division 2 title this spring but are now hungry for more success.
Having seen off Hertha Berlin in the quarter-finals, the young Swans are looking to take the scalp of Porto.
"It's pretty much the biggest game of the season," Rodon said.
"We have got ourselves into a good position in the competition and we are going to go out and try to win.



"But we are preparing for a very hard game. Porto are one of the biggest clubs in Europe and we are the underdogs, but we have been the underdogs in a lot of games this season and we've managed to get results."
More than 1,100 supporters were at the Liberty to see the Swans' development side seal the league title earlier this month, and Rodon hopes there will be another good turnout this weekend.
"We are always grateful when the fans come and get behind us because they can help us along," he said. "Hopefully, there will be a big crowd behind us again for what is a big game for us."

All tickets for this game are priced at just £1. Tickets can be purchased online HERE or by contacting 0844 815 6665.
Fans are urged to book in advance to prevent large queues on matchday. Alternatively, supporters are advised to attend early, while a cash pod will be located outside the ticket office. 
Please note, the ticket office will be open until 4pm on Saturday to allow season-ticket holders to renew for the 2017-18 campaign.

Meanwhile, Norwich City host Sunderland in the other semi-final, with that tie being held at Carrow Road on Friday, March 31.