Cle­ment weighs up re­call for mid­dle men

Western Mail - - SPORT -

PAUL Cle­ment is con­sid­er­ing re­calls for Roque Mesa and Leon Brit­ton af­ter ad­mit­ting the Swansea City mid­field pair have suf­fered the most from in­creased com­pe­ti­tion.

Mesa, 28, has ap­peared in just one of the four Pre­mier League fix­tures so far this sea­son af­ter mak­ing an £11mil­lion move from Span­ish club Las Pal­mas.

Club cap­tain Brit­ton has also made just the soli­tary league ap­pear­ance, with that out­ing com­ing against Southamp­ton on the open­ing day be­fore he picked up a back in­jury.

Mesa was an un­used sub­sti­tute against New­cas­tle – although he was briefly read­ied to come on just as Ja­maal Las­celles scored the win­ner – while Brit­ton was sat in the Sky Sports stu­dio help­ing to an­a­lyse the Lib­erty Sta­dium de­feat.

Swansea had more than 60 per cent of pos­ses­sion against the Mag­pies, but they lacked the tempo in their pass­ing play to open up a vis­it­ing side happy to sit deep and soak up pres­sure.

Brit­ton has spent his en­tire Swansea ca­reer dic­tat­ing play, and high­lighted his abil­ity to still do so at the age of 34 with a se­ries of ex­cel­lent per­for­mances dur­ing the fi­nal weeks of last sea­son’s suc­cess­ful sur­vival fight.

Mesa, mean­while, was lauded for his abil­ity on the ball in La Liga last sea­son, where he had the fourth-high­est pass com­ple­tion rate. His ini­tial lack of game time have led to fears among sup­port­ers he could fol­low in the foot­steps of record sign­ing Borja Bas­ton, who made next to no im­pact af­ter a big-money ar­rival in Spain.

But Cle­ment in­sists Mesa and Brit­ton are in his thoughts, but that they face a tough task given they are just two of eight po­ten­tial cen­tral mid­field op­tions in the head coach’s squad.

“Roque is in my thoughts, he is ready to start as shown by him start­ing against Manch­ester United, but he is one of eight pos­si­bil­i­ties in that area once Ki is fit,” said Cle­ment.

“There is a lot of com­pe­ti­tion par­tic­u­larly in that area, less so at the back and up front. He is very much in the reck­on­ing for se­lec­tion. Leon is the same. He picked up a mi­nor in­jury that kept him out be­fore the Palace game. The team won in that sit­u­a­tion and he is be­ing pa­tient to be back in­volved.”

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