Leon Britton

Leon Britton
Image from: walesonline.co.uk

Leon Britton

Current Club: Swansea City.

Previous Clubs: Sheffield United, West Ham United, Arsenal (youth academy).

Loan Club: Swansea City.

International: None.

Leon Britton has been a huge part of the rise of Swansea, becoming the central cog in their passing midfield as it rose up the divisions to the Premier League. He has stayed a bit part of the club ever since, though recent seasons have seen him struggle to hold onto a first team place on a consistent basis. This season, with the loss of Ashley Williams, who moved to Everton, Britton has taken on more importance at the Swans, as he inherited the captaincy.

Though 34 now, Britton's role as a player became pivotal once as the season came to an end. As captain he went above and beyond to try and show his teammates just what it means to the South Wales club to be there in the top flight after so nearly dropping out of the league altogether a few years ago. 'I gave them the DVD of Jack to a King, about Swansea's rise,' said Britton. 'I got 25 copies of it and gave it to each of the boys and said "Listen, if you get a spare hour or so before the game against Stoke just have a watch". 'They don't maybe understand it wasn't that far in the past that we were washing our own kit and trying to find somewhere to train so I just said have a watch and see how much it means to some people.'

Britton had experience of a relegation battle as he played in the 4-2 win over Hull City that saved Swansea from dropping out of the Football League in 2003. Now he is captaining that same club in the Premier League and still a highly effective and competent force in the top flight, just like he was in the bottom tier. He is more than just an off-pitch leader, he also leads on the pitch, with his role in the pressing game that wins Swansea the ball back as quickly as possible very important. Britton sets the tone, with his excellent understanding of the press, positioning himself well and harrying opponents into mistakes.

On the ball Britton's comfortable on the ball in tight spaces and very quick to move the ball on, always looking to move the opposition around. While he is often seen as a very limited player, who just 'recycles possession' when he has the ball, personally I feel that is unfair on Britton. To me his passing is just about quick movement of the ball, to move the opposition around and create gaps, rather than passing for the sake of passing. With the Swansea team built around wingers, he is always looking to get them space to attack and put a ball in to the box.

Physically, even at his peak, Britton was small and slight, lacking in the strength, pace and power of a typical Premier League player. Luckily his intelligence and workrate made up for his physical deficiencies in large part. In a system like Swansea's, at least the proper Swansea rather than the Bob Bradley kick-and-rush system, Britton is almost ideally suited. He holds together the midfield.


Written by Ed001 June 26 2018 22:54:54