Russell Martin says the Premier League’s big hitters are still keen to send their brightest young talents to Swansea City.
The Swans snapped up Rhys Williams and Ethan Laird on loan from Liverpool and Manchester United respectively during a busy summer transfer window, and both are likely to be a big part of Martin’s plans for the upcoming campaign.
Martin insists Swansea were at the very front of Liverpool’s thinking when the Reds decided to loan out the youngster, and insists the club’s name still carries plenty of weight when it comes to developing young talent.
Williams made his debut for the Swans during the 0-0 draw with Hull City on Saturday, and has already made a big impression since arriving in south Wales.
“He has a great mentality which is what you expect coming from Liverpool,” Martin said. “He has a real great approach to training.
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“He is a young guy so despite him having a run in the team last season, I don’t want to put too much pressure on him. We are really excited to work with him and see him improve during the season.
“We have been trusted by Liverpool to try to improve him. This club has a great track record of doing that with players and hopefully we’ll do that with Rhys.
“He has certainly made a really promising start.”
The defender follows on from Rhian Brewster in making the move to SA1, with the striker going on to be a huge hit with the Swans in the Championship, in a stint that eventually earned him a £23m move to Sheffield United.
Predecessor Steve Cooper was widely credited for his role in helping to bring Brewster, and several other high-profile youngsters to the club.
But despite Cooper’s departure, Martin insists Brewster’s success here means the change in regime hasn’t affected Swansea’s pulling power to clubs looking to give their most talented younger players a chance to grow.
Opening up on the behind-the-scenes chats that helped bring Williams to the club, Martin added: “He was one we enquired about really early on and he wasn’t available.
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“When he did become available we were the first people they called, which was fantastic for us. Part of that will be down to Rhian Brewster and what he did here, albeit with a different coaching staff.
“We have had people recently from Manchester United looking at Ethan. They gave us great feedback about the environment, the people we have here and how much he is enjoying it.
“That’s all we can do, for the players we have who are ours and the players we are taking care of.”
Martin insists the stalemate with the Tigers, while frustrating, showed his side are moving in the right direction this season, but admits his players need to take more risks in and around the final third.
“I think the guys enjoyed the performance, they enjoyed the feeling they had and they enjoyed the feeling they had when they were watching it back, seeing the connection with each other, which is really important, and hopefully they’ll continue to grow,” he said..
“We used to get labelled a bit as being a little slow, at my previous club, but it’s completely false. We had more touches in the box than anyone else in the box than anyone else in the country, apart from Norwich and Man City.
“We’re not quite getting that, but we’re in the final third a lot. You saw that on Saturday, most of the game was spent in their final third. Now the next bit is taking more risk. Being open to risk the ball in the final third.”
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