Tour talk: Jose Canas
10th July 2013
He may only speak little English, but Swans supporters can expect to hear a lot from Jose Canas this season.
The Spaniard, who arrived on a free transfer from Real Betis this month, is currently getting to grips on the English language as he looks to quickly slot in to life at his new club.
If his introduction to the squad is anything to go by, then the Jack Army have a real character amongst their ranks.
During the traditional initiation for new players, Canas (pronounced Can-yas) was the first to set the tone as he sang in front of his new team-mates.
Shy he was not, with the frizzy-haired midfielder quickly stood on his chair belting out 'Follow da Leader' with some Welsh gusto. It was a performance that had the whole restaurant singing and clapping along.
With a booming voice and infectious laugh, he has quickly settled into the squad.
Speaking without the help of a fellow amigo to translate, Canas comes through his first full interview as a Swan with the combination of broken English and his mobile translator.
And his attitude to learn the lingo is as admirable as his desire to learn on the pitch....
Canas and Ben Davies celebrate during the win over Excelsior.
"I've not had one English lesson in my life," he explains. "Not since I was in primary school have I been taught English.
"My mother actually told me to learn more English at that age, but I said I'd never use it - so I left it.
"It just shows that you really should listen to your mother. As they will tell you, they are always right.
"My English is not so good, but I want to learn as quickly as possible. I have a list of English words to learn that will help me on the pitch with my team-mates, and I study them every day.
"And when we get back to Wales, I will start lessons with a teacher. It is important I speak English to communicate with my team-mates and the coaches, and, of course, I want to speak to the supporters.
"But when I do speak to them, they will have to speak very slowly. When Ash (Williams) talks to me, I can only understand one word. He speaks too fast!
"I'm sure I'll learn English quickly though. All the Spanish players in the team can help me too, because I'm eager to learn."
Canas is eager to learn on the pitch too.
Having spent his entire career in La Liga with Real Betis, Canas is now adapting to life in a league which he expects to be fast and furious.
And, just like his English, he admits he needs to learn fast.
"In Spain it is a slower game - you get more time to think on the ball, while it is more tactical and controlled," said Canas, who has featured in both of the Swans' victorious friendly matches during the tour of Holland.
"In England I think it is a faster, physical game. Already in training, I realise it has to be one or touches and I must pass to a team-mate otherwise I lose it.
"When I played for Betis in a friendly against Swansea a few years ago it was a shock for me because I didn't touch the ball. It was pass, pass, pass, pass - I was looking in amazement as Swansea moved the ball around the pitch so fast.
"I am not the biggest midfielder around, but I am an intelligent player who will be the link between defence and midfield - very much like Leon (Britton).
"I've seen him play and I really admire him. He's small compared to the other players, but he is very intelligent and has great footwork, so he uses those skills to beat the opposition."
After being rested for the second half against Excelsior, Canas helps write the match report.
With fellow Spaniard and Betis team-mate Alejandro Pozuelo, England international Jonjo Shelvey and Dutch ace Jonathan de Guzman joining Canas at the Liberty this summer, Michael Laudrup has a wealth of options when it comes to picking his central midfield trio.
But Canas is far from worried about the competition for places. Instead, he sees it as a positive.
"I don't expect to play every game," he says. "The manager has very strong options for only a few positions.
"There's Leon, who is intelligent and a great link player; Ki has a lot of quality; Jonjo has the brilliant short or long pass; Pozuelo is small, quick and tricky; de Guzman is excellent at the set-piece and can score; Michu gets lots of goals, and then there's me.
"But we are not players who are competing for each other. We play for the team, and that is what is important. We help each other in every training session and every game - even when we are not involved.
"I can tell already that the harmony at this club is very good. The players are friendly and always smiling.
"I am the same. I am always smiling, always laughing, always talking. I probably do that when I am sleeping too!
"But a good harmony in the team is important when you have a long season. We play in the Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup and the Capital One Cup - that is a lot of fixtures.
"Goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, wingers, strikers - whatever position you are, you will play your part."
And what of the Premier League? An opening fixture against champions Manchester United is followed by trips to Tottenham Hotspur and West Brom. The following month includes home games with Liverpool and Arsenal.
"That is why the Premier League is very exciting," adds Canas with a smile. "There are many strong teams in this league, rather than two or maybe three.
"I see in this league that even the bottom teams can beat those at the top. That is incredible.
"And, of course, to play at stadiums like Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge, Anfield, White Hart Lane - these are historic grounds, and I can't wait to be involved."
Canas in action during the opening tour win over FC Gravenzande.