WHEN you get asked immediately after a match about the performance of one particular player it’s difficult not to get drawn into looking at the wider picture.
That is exactly how I felt in the tea-time discussion after our 3-0 win over Rochdale on Easter Monday.Everyone wanted to know what I thought about Richie Appleby and the vital goals he scored to put us on the road to what could easily have been our biggest success of the season.
My views on young Richie have already been well documented. He has a lot of ability, good pace and two great feet. He has got everything going for him and one day he will be a very good player.
I know people said I should have left him out when he was having his disciplinary problems earlier in the season but I chose to go the other way and I know I’ve been proved right.
That’s what management is all about — making decisions. There has never been anything wrong with his attitude and that is why I chose to give him a pat on the back and not wave the big stick.
Of course I had a quiet word with him. Any manager would when a player has been sent off three times in five weeks.
Overall, though, I’ve been delighted with Richie’s progress since I have been in charge and I’m expecting great things from him next season.
But I could say the same about a lot of my players who have all made contributions in the five months since I have been in charge.
Richie may have got the headlines this week with two cracking goals but there have been other Swansea players who have made a significant impact in a quieter way.
For consistency Nick Cusack will take a lot of stopping. He does the same job week in, week out to a very high degree. You only notice him when he has a bad game — and that rarely happens.
Matthew Bound has been solid and dependable at the back, particularly over the last six weeks or so while Charlie Hartfield has got sharper, fitter and stronger in midfield.
Of the younger ones, Lee Jenkins and Kristian O’Leary have both made great strides. I asked Lee before the Rochdale game if he fancied playing at right wing back and he took to a different role like a duck to water.
Some of our front play against Rochdale was excellent and that was down to the understanding between Julian Alsop and Steve Watkin who worked his socks off without getting among the goals.
With the new players I am planning to bring in during the summer, there is bound to be stiffer competition for places right through the team next season.
It’s the type of healthy atmosphere I am keen on creating and, believe me, from my own experience it will have enormous benefits for Swansea.
But while new players come in others must leave. That happens at every level within a football club.
For me, the worst part of my job has been telling four of our second-year trainees that they were not being kept on. No manager gets any particular pleasure in that.
What would give me pleasure is if they proved me wrong and went on to make it at another club. I wish them well in the future whatever career path they take.