Why Tom Carroll Can Be Pivotal For Swansea This Season

Why Tom Carroll Can Be Pivotal For Swansea This Season
Aug 9, 2017

Featured Swansea

When you hear the words “star quality”, it’s unlikely that Swansea City’s Tom Carroll’s name is the first you think of, and yet since his £4.5million transfer from Tottenham Hotspur in January, he has provided it in abundance. As one of Paul Clement’s first signings in South Wales, there was a fair amount of pressure on the 25-year-old from Watford to help drag the Swans out of the relegation zone.

Having previously spent the 13/14 season in SA1 on an unremarkable loan, Carroll was familiar with the club and he was able to make an immediate impact on his debut against Liverpool, he fed Martin Olsson the ball down the wing before overlapping the Swede and crossing it first time perfectly for Fernando Llorente to head home Swansea’s second of the match.

Later in the match, he set off on a drive through Liverpool’s defence, his efforts paid off when Ragnar Klavan touched the ball away straight into the path of Gylfi Sigurðsson who slotted home the winner.

His debut was a sign of things to come, his link-up with left-back Olsson a key part of Swansea’s attack and his deflected thunderbolt against Stoke marked the turning point in the relegation battle. It was the first of 5 games where Swansea would go unbeaten and win the fight to stay in the Premier League at the expense of Hull City.

With Swansea set to lose his former Tottenham teammate Sigurðsson, who managed a mammoth 13 assists – joint second in the Premier League last season, there is a void to be filled and despite links to Nacer Chadli, Lucas Lima and Jonathan Viera, Carroll could go some way into replacing him. He had an average passing accuracy of 81.4% last season and made an average of 3.2 long balls per match.

He was the standout performer in Swansea’s 4-0 preseason win over Sampdoria; a game that Sigurðsson sat out. Carroll took all the set-pieces in the Icelander’s absence including the free kick on the left of the box, which was placed beautifully onto the head of Leroy Fer for the game’s opener.

Later, he picked up the ball on the left wing from Tammy Abraham and swung it back towards the youngster, Sampdoria keeper Andrea Tozzo parried the cross straight into the path of Abraham to put them 3 up. His playmaker’s hat-trick was complete when his corner from the right wing found Federico Fernández unmarked to round off the scoring.

During the club’s pre-season tour of America, Swansea stalwart Leon Britton has talked up their friendship; the pair were roommates for the tour and were considered so close that it was speculated that they were joined at the hip. Of course, their connection will not come as a surprise to Swansea fans, the two are almost identical players in terms of style and physical build.

It’s part of the reason that lead former Swansea midfielder Owain Tudur Jones to claim Carroll is the long-term heir to Britton’s throne despite being a more attack-minded player. As those involved with Swansea know; those are big boots to fill – metaphorically at least – and Carroll is but a boy compared to the 34-year-old Britton and the former’s 143 senior club appearances comes to little over a quarter of the latter’s 540.

The midfielder might not be attack-minded enough to be the talismanic number 10 that Swansea will be forced to seek following Sigurðsson’s impending departure, nor is he experienced enough to be the veteran metronome they will need as Britton’s career draws to a close, but the Jack Army can rest easy in the knowledge that Carroll is ready to step forward and make himself known.

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