By David Williams
Joe Rodon is already benefitting from missing international duty with Wales, claims his club coach Steve Cooper.
Swansea City centre-half Rodon – who was on Manchester United’s radar last season – sat out his country’s Nations League wins over Finland and Bulgaria earlier this month.
The 22-year-old made his first Championship start since March in Swansea’s win over Preston after missing the resumption of last season with a quad strain.
Rodon also suffered a broken metatarsal in January 2019 while an ankle injury curtailed a strong start to his 2019-20 campaign.
He is now back fit and will be a key man against Birmingham City at the Liberty Stadium today.
Cooper said: “I did speak to Ryan Giggs. We’d never stop Joe from going with Wales if he was selected, but with him not having played since March it would’ve been a big call to go and play international football.
“It’s allowed him to continue with the build-up of his fitness.
Joe Rodon • 1 minute highlights •
This is what premier league fans can expect, like and rts appreciated. 🏴 pic.twitter.com/IqbbVyWrXK
— dylan🏴 (@JuneCymru) April 10, 2020
“It’s so far so good with him and hopefully it continues. Joe is a young player. He needs a real long spell in the team if he’s to go on and fulfil the potential we all know he has.
“It’s not like he’s coming back from a very, very serious injury where you can only play and train so much. It’s the opposite of that, actually.
“If you talk to him he’ll tell you he feels stronger and fitter than ever. The injuries he’s had have been bad luck more than anything else.
“Let’s hope some good luck comes his way for a bit now because we’ll all benefit from that, especially him.”
Since lockdown was eased and football returned, the Swans appear to have adjusted quickly to a world without fans inside stadia.
The visit of Birmingham for the Swans’ first home fixture of the 2020-21 season comes after Cooper’s teams have won seven, drawn two and lost three of their dozen Championship games played behind closed doors.
Extended over the course of a 46-game season, that would give them 88 points – five more than West Bromwich Albion managed last season when they were promoted in the runners-up spot.
The Swans host the Blues at the Liberty Stadium, looking to build on the encouragement of a victory and a clean sheet at Preston last time out.
However, due to ongoing measures in place around the oronavirus pandemic, supporters are not able to attend the game.
Nevertheless, Cooper wants Swansea to make full use of the advantage of playing in familiar surroundings and do their supporters proud.
“The intention for any side has to be to pick up as many points as possible at home, we are no different,” said the Swansea boss.
“I think every club is the same, if there is home advantage you want to maximise it.
“It’s different without supporters and it does play a part, but we have to make the most of being in our stadium and make the game our own. We want to try and do that Saturday.
“Of course, we would our fans to be there. But it comes down to it being a game of football.
“Everyone has had to get used to it unfortunately, it’s not as good as having fans in the ground. You deal with it the best you can.
“I don’t know whether there is an obvious advantage or disadvantage, but our approach has been to make sure we concentrate more on ourselves. We have to keep that going.
“But our fans are never far from our minds, we know how many of them have been watching on the streaming service the club offers.
“We desperately want them to be back in the stadium with us soon, but we will always try and do our very best to make them proud.
“There’s nothing positive about not having the fans here, but we have to adapt as best as we can and do the best we can.”