Fraser Watson argues that Swansea City’s contribution to Euro 2016 should be celebrated, despite the drawbacks.
After a 57-year wait, Wales were finally able to toast qualification for a major football tournament, and Chris Coleman’s men did so with a 2-0 victory over Andorra at the Cardiff City Stadium.
It means that next summer, Coleman and his squad will head to France for Euro 2016, and will do so with an abundance of passionate Welsh support behind them.
Of course, irrespective of club allegiances, it has been a special campaign for all Welsh football fans – not least of all Swansea City followers.
Swansea’s club captain, Ashley Williams, has proved every bit as talismanic for his country as he has for his club, while Neil Taylor has also been an integral part of Coleman’s defensive set up.
Meanwhile, two more club ‘products’ so to speak, Joe Allen and Ben Davies, can also be considered important first XI regulars.
But the interest for the Jack Army will extend further than the Dragons next summer – with Lukasz Fabianski almost certain to be in goal for fellow qualifiers Poland, while Gylfi Sigurdsson will be pivotal to Iceland’s participation.
Related Post: Swansea Star Looked Up to Man Utd & Chelsea Heros
Jonjo Shelvey also appears more than in frame to be there with England, as does keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt with Sweden, should they win their play off.
Of course, there will be some in South Wales who will greet the prospect with caution, and justifiably so.
Major football tournaments are a fantastic spectacle for supporters, and provide career defining moments for players.
But for clubs, they can be a major hindrance.
Skipper Williams has been so instrumental to Swansea’s success in recent years that the prospect of him, at the age of 31, returning weary for the 2016/2017 campaign is a concerning one.
Sigurdsson appeared to tire frequently in Premier League games last season amidst concerns he was carrying a huge workload for his county in their qualification matches.
And for both, as well as Shelvey, Taylor, Nordfeldt and Fabianski, there will be the customary difficulty in getting physically and mentally ready for the new season following an international tournament.
On a different note, all six, if selected, will be playing on the big international stage – which ultimately means they will be in the shop window. Should any excel themselves, transfer interest and rumours will inevitably follow.
But regardless, the prospect of up to six Swansea City players contributing to a major tournament should be celebrated by fans, not resented.
It is another marker of just how much the club has grown – and the potential problems with fatigue from major tournaments, and big clubs taking interest in our players, should be considered luxuries compared to what the club has endured in the past.
And if our captain further embellishes his leadership qualities by helping Wales to a successful campaign, even better.