“It was always going to be disappointing to lose at this stage of the season,” said Toshack. “But overall the players have done extremely well this campaign.”
Recap of the game
Aston Villa midfielder Rory Hale scored the opening goal last night, before winger Kenji Gorre equalised, scoring yet another goal at youth level.
Unfortunately for Swansea, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy gave Aston Villa the advantage from the penalty spot early in the second half, which was enough to win the tie for the away side.
Despite a late chance that fell to Dan James, who hit the crossbar in the dying minutes, Aston Villa were able to hold on and advance to the play-off final.
Well above expectations
Toshack claimed that at the start of the season, Swansea’s aim was to finish in the top five. They ended up placing third in their first season at this level, which is quite remarkable considering very few senior players featured either.
The defeat did signal the end to Swansea’s seven-game unbeaten spell, after which Toshack revealed both he and his assistant Gary Richards were incredible proud of the development that the side has shown.
Making the leap to senior football
Toshack said that some players are playing at a level above their age, while other players are out securing loan moves and getting regular playing time in the football league, and some are even “knocking on the door of the first team this season.”
Scotsmen Stephen Kingsley and Jay Fulton have both been given minutes under Francesco Guidolin’s regime, while there are others in the squad surely in with a chance of featuring in the remaining Premier League games.
Gorre has been a scoring threat at youth level for the last two years now, and considering Swansea’s ineptitude at that end of the field it would be a no-brainer to call him up.
Centre-back Joe Rodon also impressed last night, with many fans at the Liberty Stadium claiming that he should be called up to the first team also, with one eye on a change to how Swansea defend set-pieces.
Perhaps in the past Guidolin didn’t want to call up the youth players because it would disrupt them from their schedule at the development level, but now that the season is over for them, there’s no excuse not to give some of these promising talents game-time between now and the end of the season.