Leon Britton Is Frank About De Boer . . . And Swans’ Survival Chances

Leon Britton believes he can inch Swansea City closer towards Premier League survival on Saturday as the club consider going Dutch for the longer haul.

Caretaker manager Britton insists the Swans can repeat their great escape of last season with the first step being a victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

That could be the veteran midfielder’s only game in charge as the club mull over candidates to replace Paul Clement. Dutchman Frank de Boer is understood to be heading their wanted list, with a possible added attraction of a role for his compatriot Dennis Berkamp.

The former Arsenal striker was sacked by Ajax as assistant manager on Thursday, allowing a happy coincidence of being available to re-join de Boer. The two men worked together at the Dutch club when de Boer was manager between 2011 and 2016.

When asked, Britton said he thought de Boer would be a good fit for the club, given his reputation and background.

“He’s certainly someone who is recognised for wanting to play good football, having come through the Ajax system,” said Britton.

“He has experience and a good reputation, but there are going to be lots of names that are thrown around at the moment and it’s about making the right choice.”

The Swans also had 12 points after 18 games last season and eventually finished 15th on 41 points after Clement was named in manager in January.

Frank de Boer (left) alongside Dennis Bergkamp at Ajax. Pic: Getty Images.

Britton, who was pivotal to that recovery once Clement had restored him to the side, is adamant that history can yet be repeated.

“We were on 12 points at this point last season and we had a brilliant second half of the season.

“People will write us off, that’s natural as we’re bottom of the league. But they did last year and we got out of it. We have experience of it, which we have to use, and I believe in the squad and the quality we have can get us out of this situation.

“I know the players well having played with them, I am still a player as well as a coach. I know their characteristics and I will get their respect as I’ve been here a long time. I need to get confidence back, some clarity to make things clear to them. You can see confidence is low and it is down to everyone to get the players back up and get a result.

“I hope we see a reaction. One of the reasons I agreed to take the role is I believe I can have an effect on the team.  I am sure the fans will be behind us, the Liberty has been a difficult place but I am sure they will be behind us and I can try and give the players a lift and I don’t see why we can’t go into the Palace game with a positive frame of mind.”

Palace were themselves bottom of the table before Roy Hodgson took over as manager. The irony is that the man he replaced, and who was dismissed after just four games, was de Boer.

Britton added: “It’s going to be a tough game. Roy Hodgson is very experienced, he’s gone in there and they have picked up results but it shows.

“Before Roy went in there were people writing Palace off straight away and there was so much football left to be played and all of a sudden their fortunes have turned around.

“It’s going to be a very difficult task. they’ve got some very good individual players and he’s got them very well organised.

“We’ll look tomorrow in training and we’ll speak about Crystal Palace, how they might play and how we’re going to go and win the game.”

 

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