Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers hails ‘inspirational’ captain Garry Monk

Garry Monk
Garry Monk previously played in the Premier League with Southampton

Brendan Rodgers has hailed captain Garry Monk as "inspirational" for his leadership in the Swansea City team despite losing his place in the side.

Monk has been an unused substitute in Swansea's last four games as Rodgers picked England under-21 defender on-loan Tottenham defender Steven Caulker.

But Monk returns to Swansea's starting line-up to face Spurs on Saturday as Caulker cannot face his parent club.

"He has been a wonderful example of a captain of a football club," he said.

"I know if I ever need to turn and call on anyone he's certainly one of those players who will come in," he said.

"His solidarity within the group, his leading of the group even when he hasn't been playing has been inspirational.

"He's terrific for this football club and even more so for this last little period."

Centre-back Monk last featured in the Swans defence in their 4-2 defeat at Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League on 3 December.

Caulker, having recovered from a knee injury which he suffered in September, was preferred in the heart of Rodgers' backline for the following game against Fulham.

"I felt I needed to change it just to give the team a bit of presence," said Swans boss Rodgers of his decision to omit Monk.

Monk, who joined Swansea in June 2004 when the Welsh club were still in League Two, played 10 successive games despite suffering from a foot trouble when Caulker was out.

But Rodgers is sure that the 32-year-old is fully fit to partner Wales international Ashley Williams in Swansea's rear-guard.

"He's ready," said Rodgers. "He's looked terrific in training."

Swansea have only won once in their last eight and on Saturday will be up against third-placed Tottenham who have lost just one in their last 15 Premier League games.

Swansea's game against Spurs will be the first of three home games against sides that are currently in the Premier League's top five as Arsenal and Chelsea are to visit The Liberty Stadium in January.

"They're great challenges for us," said Rodgers. "But our concentration is on the next game.

"We've got Tottenham who have been absolutely fantastic this season and [are] up there with the top sides in European football at the moment in terms of their game and how they play.

"We know we will be asked serious questions on Saturday, but that's our job."

"When you have a team who are quick you can't be naive and stupid and press high up the pitch you have to find ways of blocking space and controlling the depth of the game and you have to hurt teams when you have the ball.

"I am looking forward to us testing ourselves because that is why we are in the league."