Toshack: Wolves clash a chance to gain experience

26th February 2019
Under-21s

Cameron Toshack says Swansea City Under-23s' clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers (6pm) provides a further opportunity for several players to gain more experience in the higher age category.

The young Swans travel to Compton Park having already booked their place in the knockout stages of the competition, while a victory would secure top spot in Group E.

They sealed their passage after Friday’s 2-2 draw with Hull City – in which Toshack and Gary Richards fielded nine teenagers and handed debuts to under-18s' players Tivonge Rushesha and Jayden Reid, as well as a first start for Mason Jones-Thomas.

The Swans lifted the Premier League Cup trophy in 2017 before reaching the final 12 months later and success in the tournament played a huge role in the development of the likes of Connor Roberts, Joe Rodon, George Byers, Daniel James and Oli McBurnie – all of whom have gone on to become key players in the first team under Graham Potter.

And Toshack is confident his current generation of young talent can step up to the plate in this season's competition.

“With both teams having qualified for the next round, it gives us the opportunity to play some younger players in an under-23s' environment, which is what Gary and I view the tournament for,” he said.

“In the past couple of years, it’s given the boys that are now with the first team the opportunity to play knockout football and win a Premier League medal. 

“Subsequently, that gives us the opportunity to involve the younger players further down the line.

“Regardless of when you put them in, youngsters will often give you a pleasant surprise.

“When players come from the under-18 to under-23 football, you need to work on certain aspects of their tactical understanding and game management. But overall, they wouldn’t be where they are if they weren’t capable.”

It promises to be a tricky task against Rob Edwards’ Wolves, who are currently three points clear of the Swans at the top of Group E and one of only three sides to have remained unbeaten in the group phase of this competition.

They are also second in Premier League 2 Division 2 and, despite having already qualified for the knockout stages, Toshack admits he still expects a positive performance from his players in the West Midlands.

“Rob has a good group of youngsters that are pushing for promotion in the league below us, so it will definitely be a tough test for us,” he added.

“It’s coming to the business end of the season for us and we want the boys to produce good performances – whether their experienced ones playing for contracts and trying to impress the first-team staff or younger players proving they are capable of making the step-up.

“There’s a lot on the game for everyone, depending on their circumstances.”

You can watch the under-23s in Premier League Cup action LIVE on swanseacity.com from 6pm this evening.