Winning the only option for Amat

11th April

As a youngster, you are always reminded that it is the taking part that counts when it comes to sport.
But growing up and playing football in Canet de Mar, a small coastal town in Catalonia, just half-an-hour's drive from Barcelona, Jordi Amat had only one thought in his mind: winning. And he wouldn't be swayed.
"I was playing at home with my father and my brothers when I was very young - maybe three or four years old," Amat explains to Jack Magazine. 
"I always wanted to win, but my mum would say to me: 'no, you must play football in the small town because you need to learn to lose as well'. But I said: 'no, no, no' because I couldn't accept losing.
"I signed for the small team in Canet de Mar, and I won everything. Every weekend we won because we had a very good team. 
"It was good for me because I didn't learn to lose as a boy - I only wanted to win."
That winning mentality saw Amat rise through the ranks at Espanyol, for whom he featured in every age group, right through to making his first-team debut in La Liga in January 2010, two months shy of his 18th birthday. 
It was the same for Amat at international level. From the Under-16 age group to the Spanish Under-21s, the young defender won honours on the international front.
By the time of his move to South Wales, Amat had already made over 60 La Liga appearances in the colours of Espanyol and Rayo Vallecano, with whom he spent a season on loan.
But even for a player with experience that belied his tender years, a transfer to a different country was a big move for a just-turned 21-year-old in the summer of 2013.
"Canet de Mar is my hometown, but I took the decision to move to Swansea for my future," Amat insists without a moment's hesitation.
"I was very, very young, but my decision was very clear. Also because (Michael) Laudrup pushed me to sign and showed that he had trust in me. 
"I was young, but I had already played a lot of games in La Liga, so I knew it would be a good experience for me to move to the Premier League - the best league in the world."

But it wasn't just Amat that would be swapping the Spanish shores for the Welsh coast. Indeed, his £2.5 million move from Espanyol proved a life changing moment for not only him, but also for his entire family - that included his wife-to-be, his parents, as well as his brothers and sisters.
"The family decided we should all be together during the first season, especially," adds the 23-year-old. 
"But in the second season, they decided they wanted to stay with me here because they enjoyed it so much in Swansea. 
"My brother and sister are in school here, so it is a good experience for them as well. They are very, very happy and are learning a lot. My little brother didn't understand any English when he came here, now his English is perfect.
"It's a new country and a different culture, and we are all enjoying it a lot. It's a big opportunity for me to show my football here."
From making his full debut for the Swans in the 4-0 home victory over Malmo FF in the Europa League last season to learning a new culture and getting married, Amat has already experienced a great number of milestone moments since signing for the Swans.
"It's true that I've enjoyed a lot of new experiences since arriving at Swansea," he says. "I've moved to a new country, I had my wedding and recently signed a new contract. There have been a lot of things that have happened to me, and I'm so happy to live these moments here."
From the outset, Swansea City and Amat appeared a match made in heaven: A family man moving to a family-orientated club - the perfect environment for a fledgling talent.
"This is important to me," he adds. "It is one of the reasons why I wanted to sign a new contract - Swansea is very much a family club.
"Everyone knows each other at the club - the Chairman to the players to the staff who work in the stadium. 
"In a way, Swansea is a bit like Canet de Mar. It is bigger, but it is a close community, where everyone is friendly."
Despite the many highs Amat has enjoyed throughout his career so far and during his relatively short time in Swansea, it hasn't always been plain sailing for the young defender.
Amat faced his first real setback earlier this season when he suffered a knee ligament injury during Swansea's 4-2 defeat at Chelsea earlier this season, which ruled him out of action for two months of the season.
At the time of his injury, the Swans were a goal to the good against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, on the back of three successive wins from their opening three fixtures of the campaign, in which Amat played a key role in.
"I think I played well in the first few games of the season and then I was unlucky to be injured, which was a bad situation for me," reflects the articulate centre-back.
"But these things happen in football. The positive way to look at my injury is that it has made me stronger.
"You have to learn from these setbacks and make sure you come back stronger. I think that is what has happened to me. I have to push and keep fighting.
"Every day I am growing up in Swansea. I try to learn as much as I can in training and to help the team. 
"There is a lot of competition here, which is good for any player because you always have to be 100 per cent. We have four really good centre-backs here, each with their own qualities, which can only be good for Swansea.
"Fede is a good friend and is great competition, along with Kyle. He is playing well and helping us secure results, so sometimes you have to accept that he is playing and wait for your moment." 
Amat, though, is no stranger to a fight back. While Garry Monk's side are aiming for a top eight finish in what is widely regarded as the best league in the world, for the Spanish defender, fighting for a top eight finish is nothing new.
"I was eighth in the overall table on Call of Duty four or five years ago," laughs Amat, referring to the popular online multiplayer computer game.
"I'm still a good player, but because I have my wife now, I cannot play so much! 
"I try to spend my time with other things these days, but I still have a couple of hours a week to play. I play online with my brother, which is good.
"I have a lot of friend requests on the game. A lot of people ask me if it is really me. I play Fifa as well, and sometimes I like to be a manager on Fifa, but I think I am better at Call of Duty."
And with the Swans hosting Everton at the Liberty this afternoon, a win would ensure Monk's men surpass their best-ever points total in the Premier League and further boost their bid to secure a top eight finish, with five games to spare.
But even if that feat is achieved this afternoon, Amat guarantees the Swans will continue to fight for every point until the last kick of the campaign. After all, for Swansea's young Spaniard, winning is the only option.