After yet another positive result for Swansea City on Saturday, it calls for yet another positive feature article.
I can praise pretty much all of the Swans’ squad after a quite astonishing upturn in form, but for this piece I’m going to focus on the impact of January signing Tom Carroll.
Carroll re-signed for Swansea for £4.5 million in January, following a previous loan at the Liberty Stadium under Garry Monk in 2014/15.
Originally, the signing of the midfielder wasn’t seen as a brilliant bit of business – maybe fair enough too, seeing as he played just three minutes of Premier League football for Spurs in 2016 before his move back to Wales. It didn’t appear to be a signing that could help the Swans escape relegation, so to speak.
However, from his first game against Liverpool in the 3-2 victory at Anfield, Carroll has proved everyone wrong…and more! Not only has he showcased that he’s capable of playing top-flight football, he’s probably been one of the best midfielders in the league based on current form.
Perhaps neutrals only watching Swansea’s highlights won’t notice how good Carroll’s been. But when I was at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, I was mesmerized by his performance. The 24-year-old, playing in a holding midfield position, was pinging the ball around the pitch with so much ease. He was so calm on the ball, always finding space to exploit and used the ball effectively.
He has such a smart, natural footballing brain, very much like Leon Britton. And I think a comparison to Leon is pretty fair. Both are hard-working, both are very clever players, both keep the midfield ticking over, keeping its shape and they never really seem to make many mistakes either.
Carroll has also formed a great midfield partnership with Jack Cork and Leroy Fer. As a trio, they compliment each other very well and it’s no coincidence that results have vastly improved now that Paul Clement’s settled on that regular midfield three with the right balance.
Cork is the most defensive of the trio and wins the 50/50s, second balls and is now a completely different player under the new boss. Fer is the muscle in midfield, but offers a lot in attack too. Whereas Carroll is the brain in the middle of the park, always doing the right thing and using the ball effectively. It’s a great balance of attributes to have for a midfield three with the signing of Carroll now completing it for Clement.
And how can I not mention the two assists from the duo of Carroll and Fer against Burnley. Fer’s delivery was one of the best crosses you’ll see this season, attacking from the right wing and sending the ball in with pace and accuracy right on Fernando Llorente’s head. Then there’s Carroll’s cross from a more deeper position, but equally as good with plenty of pace and curl on the ball to assist Llorente’s eventual winning goal – fantastic!
Let’s hope Carroll can continue in this fashion, and no doubt if he continues, he can become a real Swansea City star. It was an absolute joy to watch him against Burnley and I’m hoping we’ll be able to enjoy such showings regularly in the future. Keep it up, Tom!