By David Williams
Morgan Gibbs-White believes Steve Cooper’s faith in the stars of tomorrow can help him start proving his talent this afternoon.
The 20-year-old is set to make his league debut for Swansea City as the club begin their Championship campaign away at Preston North End.
It’s not the fixture that either Cooper or Gibbs-White were hoping for back in June, when the Swans were in the promotion play-offs and Gibbs-White was still yearning for an extended run in the first team at Premier League Wolverhampton Wanderers.
But Cooper’s team failed to go up and Gibbs-White has been convinced that a season out on loan can kick-start his own Premier League ambitions by giving him the game-time in the same way that both Rhian Brewster and Conor Gallagher managed in their loan deals at the Liberty Stadium last season.
Gibbs-White, 20, saw his stunning progress at Wolves stall slightly last season as injuries struck and Molineux boss Nuno Espirito Santo granted the midfielder permission to leave in search of more minutes on the field.
Swansea head coach Cooper – who managed Gibbs-White when England Under-17’s won the World Cup in 2017 – moved quickly to bring him to Wales.
Both men hope the player can follow in the footsteps of Liverpool’s Brewster and Chelsea’s Gallagher and Gibbs-White says: “I had a chat with Nuno at Wolves and he said I was a top player but agreed I needed game time.
“It was a good confidence boost for me to hear that from a top manager.
“When I was getting regular game time I knew the talent I had and then injuries got in the way. Last season I saw Rhian come here and thrive and score goals.
“The manager believed in him and played him every single minute which really drew me in. That shows what Steve is like as a manager.
“He believes in his players a lot. Swansea was always the first option for me because I knew Steve and I feel I can thrive off him to help get Swansea back to where they want to be.”
Brewster scored 11 goals in 22 games in the second half of last season as Swansea were beaten by Brentford in the Championship play-offs.
He is set to start the new Premier League season with Liverpool and Swansea are yet to sign a new striker this window. Midfielder Gibbs-White plays in a different role, but still expects to contribute.
“Those were some stats from Rhian. It’s going to take a lot of hard work to beat that, but I definitely think it’s possible.
“When Swansea were in the Premier League they were unbelievable and it was quite a shock when they went down. Last year the boys did well to make the play-offs before just letting it go in the last game with Brentford. It is definitely our main goal to try and get promoted this season.
“I’ve played for England since I was 16 and all through the age groups. I’ve been in the Under-21’s and now I’m trying to kick-start my career again at Swansea and hopefully try and push on.”
“I’ll bring energy and I get up and down the pitch by being box to box. I want to excite the fans and help the team as much as possible going forwards in terms of making assists and scoring goals. “That’s what I’m here for – to try and get Swansea back to where they want to be. I’ll be doing my best to try and achieve those things.”
Gibbs-White says he has settled well at his new club and is enjoying life on and off the field.
“It’s beautiful. I got here two weeks ago and I’ve settled into an apartment. I love the scenery and everyone at Swansea has made me so welcome.
“I can’t say a bad word about the place yet so everything is looking good and positive so far. I’ve got a view of the sea by the marina.
“I’ve worked with the manager before and I know a few of the staff as well. It’s all been great so far so hopefully I can keep that energy going.
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“When Swansea were in the Premier League they were unbelievable and it was quite a shock when they went down.
“Last year the boys did well to make the play-offs before just letting it go in the last game with Brentford. It is definitely going to be our main goal for this season to try and get to the play-offs or get promoted.
“For any player it’s frustrating when you don’t play. You want to play every game. When you go to speak to a manager you’re always nervous because he’s your boss! You don’t want to say anything wrong!
“But I have a good relationship with Nuno and we just want the best for each other.
“I always had Swansea in my head because I knew the manager. He always stayed in touch with me after games and said he’d always love to have me down here if I needed game time.
“Swansea was always the first option for me because I knew Steve, the way he likes to play, and I feel I can thrive off him to help get Swansea back to where they want to be.”