Toshack: It's been a superb adventure

29th April 2019

Cameron Toshack believes Swansea City Under-23s’ “superb adventure” in Premier League 2 Division 1 will only benefit his squad.

With their relegation from the top flight of development football already confirmed, the under-23s suffered a 3-1 defeat away at Manchester City in their final league match of the campaign.

The young Swans enjoyed a remarkable debut campaign in the top division in 2017-18; finishing a hugely respectable fourth and, up until their penultimate match against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, having an outside shot at the title.

However, with several key members of that squad progressing to the first team, the development side have struggled to hit those heights this term.

They came unstuck at the Academy Stadium this evening against an inspired City, whose quickfire counter attacks were, at times, too hot for them to handle.

Toshack admits that City’s performance was the benchmark to which his side must aspire, but insists the experience will serve them well when they attempt to reclaim their top-flight status next season.

“It’s been a superb adventure and will give us a real good basis and sounding board for when we try to develop our young players in the lower league and give it a real good go,” the under-23s’coach said.

“The boys have now had that taste of the top division. Some of them have maybe gone in a little bit younger than they were able to cope with, but it’s very important that they learn from their experiences this year and I’m sure they will come back stronger for it.

“Collectively, the top-flight teams have shown their quality is something to be admired.

“Tonight was another opportunity to learn against very good young players. Even though they may not feel that way, this is what we look to try and develop our players into and what they all want to achieve. 

“It’s all part of their learning and, as coaches, it’s up to us to make them better. It’s also up to them to come in every day with an attitude where they strive to get better.”

Despite the defeat, a huge individual positive for the Swans saw striker Liam Cullen reach double figures for the season after netting his 10th league goal of the campaign.

Only Brighton’s Aaron Connolly has bettered his tally in Premier League 2 Division 1 this term.

Cullen, who also scored an own-goal earlier in the evening, has operated in various positions across the front line this season and worked tirelessly for the benefit of the team.

And Toshack saved a special mention for his number nine.

“We thought Liam played really well tonight,” he added. “In games like that, we know we’re not going to get a great deal of opportunities, but he took his goal very, very well.

“He deserves a lot of credit. He’s also played out wide for us this season but, every time he’s been asked to do a job, he’s listened and done his best to deliver on the plan.

“He’s looked upon it as a real opportunity to learn and I’m very proud of him.”