Alan Curtis backs youth system to restore Swansea City fortunes

Striker Courtney Baker-Richardson was one of seven Swansea debutants in the Carabao Cup game with Crystal Palace
Striker Courtney Baker-Richardson was one of seven Swansea debutants in the Carabao Cup game with Crystal Palace

Alan Curtis believes Swansea City can turn to its youth system to help restore the club's fortunes.

Swansea have made a good start to the Championship following Premier League relegation last season, winning 2-1 at Millwall on Saturday to go sixth.

Off the field there has been criticism at a lack of recruitment, but Curtis is backing the home-grown talent he sees.

"Now it's probably about time that the club started to produce our own players," said the assistant coach.

"We've spent a lot of money on the Academy, it's a terrific facility.

"The game against Palace, we had a number of boys making their debuts, but some of them have been in the system now maybe as long as seven or eight years.

"So they are probably going to be the future of the club. It's probably the way it used to be many, many years ago."

New Swansea manager Graham Potter named five debutants in the starting XI that lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace in their midweek Carabao Cup game.

Defenders Brandon Cooper, 18, Cian Harries, 21, and five-time Wales capped left-back Declan John, 23, plus midfielder George Byers, 22, and striker Courtney Baker-Richardson, 22, made their senior Swansea bows, with forward Liam Cullen, 19, and full-back Tyler Reid, 20, coming off the bench to make it seven debutants.

Baker-Richardson was handed his league debut after his performance against the Eagles, although he lasted just five minutes against Millwall after a poor challenge that Potter put down to "over-excitement".

But Swansea legend Curtis, now 64, points to the example of the talent that the Welsh club has produced in the past, including his own generation who number among some of the greats to wear the white shirt.

"We were never able to bring in a huge amount of players and it was all done with the likes of myself coming through, Robbie James coming through, Jeremy Charles, Wyndham Evans, Nigel Stevenson, Dudley Lewis - and all went on to become internationals," said Curtis, who won 35 Wales caps.

"That's probably the route that we're going to have to go now."

'Fear of playing us'

After a turbulent period that has seen managers come and go in quick succession, Curtis is encouraged by the early signs under Potter that Swansea will stabilise and recapture the flowing football style that earned so many admirers.

"Under Graham's guidance we're looking to get that style back again," he said.

"Teams used to hate playing against us and we just want to get back to that again, I want to get back to that to actually see the fear of playing us.

"You talk to managers and coaches after the game about playing us and all their fears came true, and I'd love to have those conversations again."

Curtis is confident that Swansea will be pushing the other Championship teams for the promotion places, although warned that the club may have to bide its time to claim a return to the top flight.

"I'd love to say from a supporter's point of view 'yes we will go up', but from what I've seen of the league so far it's going to be a real slog," Curtis added.

"Whether we've got the players to do that I'm not 100% sure, but certainly we'll give it a go.

"We're probably not going to be a million miles away. I don't see why we can't surprise a few people."