Joe Rodon: Wales and Swansea defender destined for the top - Cooper

By Gareth VincentBBC Sport Wales
Joe Rodon has been the senior figure in Steve Cooper's Swansea youthful back three this season, which has also featured Ben Cabango and Marc Guehi
Joe Rodon (right) has been the senior figure in Steve Cooper's Swansea youthful back three this season, which has also featured Ben Cabango and Marc Guehi

Steve Cooper believes Joe Rodon is heading for the Premier League but insists the Wales defender is best off, for now, at Swansea City.

Rodon, 22, has been linked with a host of clubs including Manchester United, Manchester City and West Ham United.

Swansea boss Cooper is convinced the centre-back can reach the top level but feels his peak is a long way off.

"I don't think anybody is at their best at 22. It's more four, five, six years down the line," Cooper said.

"The aim is to keep working hard with him and he is definitely doing the same himself. He is giving it his best shot to keep progressing."

When asked whether Rodon is destined for the Premier League, Cooper added: "Yep. Yeah definitely.

"But I still think he is on that journey. He has only played just over 50 games.

"We say every week, let's hope he has better luck with injuries, he can get a good season under his belt and we can take it from there."

Academy product Rodon made his Swansea debut in August 2018.

He is set for a 54th Swans appearance when Cooper's side face Millwall in the Championship this Saturday, but would have played many more games were it not for a succession of injury problems.

Rodon was sidelined for more almost three months in 2018-19 by a broken foot, then needed ankle surgery in October 2019 which meant another three months out.

He then picked up a separate ankle problem in June 2020, which ruled him out of the Championship run-in.

Despite the fitness setbacks, Rodon has established himself in Ryan Giggs' Wales team and Cooper accepts he is on the radar for clubs higher up the ladder.

Joe Rodon is set to add to his four Wales caps in the upcoming games against England, Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria
Joe Rodon (left) is set to add to his four Wales caps in the upcoming games against England, Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria

For a time Rodon seemed likely to leave Swansea, but Cooper is optimistic he will remain at his home-city club for the rest of 2020-21 at least.

"Joe is a good young player and I am sure there will be and have been people looking at him," said the former England Under-17s coach.

"But I can only go off official information from the club and that is that there is nothing.

"You do tend to get a tip-off, through maybe agents or even people at interested clubs, that something might happen, but there hasn't been anything for anybody."

Cooper is also confident Andre Ayew will remain at Swansea when the summer transfer window closes later this month.

Ayew was another player who had been tipped to leave, but there is little sign of the Ghana forward moving on.

"What I see every day with Andre is a motivated player that's contributed hugely through his own performances and also to the players around him," Cooper said.

"I speak to Andre regularly and I am fairly sure if something was happening he would be honest with me. We just carry on as normal."

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