Swansea City’s new leader has emerged and he has more to say than West Ham star hints at – Guto Llewellyn

Swansea City’s return against Southampton last week was a mixed bag, but at least one player stood out, as he has done throughout the season.

The loss to the 10-man Saints in the FA Cup was more than a sign of rust in some Swans’ games, which is completely understandable after almost a month without playing.

However there were also some bright moments and the odd one out that looked remarkably sharp given the long COVID-enforced gap. Chief among them was Flynn Downs who appeared as fresh and confident as ever and in no way looked out of place against a seasoned Premier League midfielder.

Handed over to the captain’s armband for the first time at age 22, Russell Martin’s confidence in Downs was rewarded with a masterful performance from an Ipswich Academy product.

Even during the first half hour, when the spectators had 11 men on the pitch and Swansea were struggling to keep the pace of the game, Downs looked confident and ready to fight.

He played a formidable defensive knock throughout the match, but his passing game was also impeccable and he played the entire match calmly under pressure, which helped him escape difficult situations with ease. He gave Southampton a good test in midfield and also kept Swansea’s passing game fluid.

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This is what we have been expecting from a young man with a great future.

Since his summer arrival from Ipswich, Downs really hasn’t put a foot wrong.

Playing the role of midfield, he has become an anchor in the middle of the pitch and seems to accept the responsibility of this crucial role.

He reads the game brilliantly and remembers the blood and thunder of a defensive midfield role. But unlike many in his position, it is not enough for Downs to thwart the opposition and it is notable how often he emerges from a tackle with the ball at his feet, rather than clearing it in any random direction. acquires possession for the side.

Downs is also deceptively strong and this, coupled with his cultured footwork and apparent confidence, enables him to work his way out of difficult situations with ease. Where most players at this level would boot it up anywhere, Downs would often play his way to safety.

Their delivery is also incredibly reliable. With a success rate of 92.8 percent, he is the most accurate passer in the entire championship.

It is really hard to believe that he is still only 22 years old because the maturity with which he plays the game is so impressive.

Swansea paid Ipswich £1.5million for his services over the summer which already seemed like a steal as he is a star in the making. If he stays at the club for a few more years, his value could skyrocket.

Downs is a fine example of a modern defensive midfielder, a shrewd operator who is as happy as kick-starting attacks.

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His style reminds me of another brilliant young talent.

Declan is just a week older than Rhys Downs, but it would be fair to say that the England international is well ahead of the Swansea man in his career progression. Having said that, anyone who watches these two closely will be able to see clear similarities in the way they play.

Both are excellent athletes, strong and fast bowlers to compete against even the most experienced. They are both confident with the ball on their feet and never panic under pressure.

Positionally, both Rice and Downs have experience playing in defense as well as midfield, looking comfortable in either role.

Both of these men put in the harsh yard which frees up the others around them to express themselves.

The achievements of Rice and Downs in the game clearly can’t be compared. Rice is one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League and his side are currently fourth in the table and enjoying a great European run. He also has 27 international caps and played at the end of Euro 2020 in July.

But there are a lot of similarities stylistically, Downes looks every way to Declan Rice’s version of the championship.

He has a special talent with a brilliant future ahead of him and it seems he has the attitude and work-rate to rise to the top.

His impressive performance as captain against Southampton may have given us a little taste of things to come. Perhaps he’ll be able to make that armband a permanent feature in the years to come.

Are we seeing the emergence of the Swan captain of the future? Only time will tell, but he certainly has all the qualities to become a leader in this club.

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