I’VE NOT MADE IT YET – ROBERTS
Swansea youngster keeps level head
RISING star Connor Roberts insists he’s paying little attention to the speculation linking him with a move away from Swansea City.
The down-to-earth 23-yearold is out of contract at the Liberty Stadium at the end of the season and is reportedly the subject of Premier League interest.
However, the Wales full-back takes such talk in his stride, as he has done every other twist and turn during his dramatic rise in recent months.
Having cut his teeth during loan spells at Yeovil, Bristol Rovers and Middlesbrough, Neath-born Roberts is now a Swans regular under Graham Potter and a fully-fledged international under Ryan Giggs – but he has both feet planted firmly on the ground.
“If you’d have told me last season that I’d be playing week in, week out for Swansea and there may be interest from other clubs, I’d have said, ‘no chance’,” said Roberts.
“My friends send me links and say, ‘look at this, look at that’ but until something’s concrete or whatever, I’ll keep on playing for Swansea, doing my best.
“As long as I keep on playing well, I don’t really think about things externally – interest, contracts or whatever.
“I leave that to the people who deal with that and I’ll just concentrate on what I’m doing on the pitch.”
As well as being a standout performer for Swansea so far this term – playing every minute of their Championship campaign ahead of the weekend – Roberts also chalked up his first international goal last month, a sublime left-footed volley in Wales’ 4-1 dismantling of the Republic of Ireland.
Things seemingly couldn’t be better for the rampaging right-back, who has been with the Swans since he was ten, but Roberts takes nothing for granted.
“From past experiences and things that other people in football have said to me, it can all go downhill quickly, so I have to enjoy it and keep on playing well,” he said.
“If I was to drop out of the game next week for whatever reason, people won’t say, ‘he had a hell of a career’ – they’d say ‘he had 10, 15 minutes of brilliance and then he disappeared’.
“If you look at it and say that I’ve scored for my country and I’m playing in the Championship for my local team, then it’s brilliant but, in my head, there’s other things that go on in my life.
“It’s not just about football. Football is still about enjoyment for me and it’s not really the be-all and end-all.
“People have said, ‘you’ve almost made it now’ but, in my mind, I haven’t made it yet. “I have to keep on working hard and when I’ve played 300 or 400 games, then perhaps I can begin to say I’ve had a decent career and I’m doing okay.” Roberts made his Swansea debut in January under Carlos Carvalhal but now finds himself a key cog of the Potter regime. In recent weeks, the defender has been given even more licence to roam forward and he was on target in the 3-1 midweek win over Blackburn, which left the Swans tenth in the table. Roberts hopes the goals keep on as Potter continues to steady the ship at the Liberty after the gut-punch of last season’s relegation from the Premier League. “He has brought in some quality players and he’s doing a very good job at the moment,” said Roberts. “The manager knows that it’s pointless stopping now. “We’ve only played 15 games in the Championship and hopefully he can be at this club for a very long time – the good times need to return.”
DOUBLE DELIGHT: Connor Roberts celebrates scoring for Swansea against Blackburn in midweek and, inset, fires home for Wales against the Republic of Ireland
IMPACT: Swansea City manager Graham Potter