In line with changes across the development leagues in English football, the Swans Under 23s will now play as Swansea City Under 21s for the upcoming 2022-2023 Professional Development League season.
The amendment to the age limit, which was under-23 last season, has been introduced as part of an ongoing review of the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) to better align with the EFL Trophy and international competitions.
The rule change is designed to reflect the reality of the players in the competition, whose average is currently just 19 years old.
Clubs will, however, be permitted to use five (previously three) over-age outfield players and one over-age goalkeeper, in order to transition from the under-23 format.
The aim is to continue providing opportunities for the best young players to play alongside and against older and more experienced players.
The various development leagues are part of a suite of competitions that aims to best prepare players to make the transition to senior football.
Swansea’s Academy boss Jon Grey will no doubt be encouraged by the fact that some of last season’s Under 23 squad – Azeem Abdulai, Joel Cotterill, Ben Lloyd and Cameron Congreve – were part of Russell Martin’s pre-season training camp at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot last week.
Their inclusion, will certainly act as motivation for the other players coming through the ranks at Landore, especially with the likes of Cotterill having just signed his first professional deal at the club aged just 17.
With both the Swans Under 21s and Under 18s having now returned to pre-season training, it will be interesting to see how the teams adapt to the new changes, especially given the significant improvement in form of both sides towards the end of the 2021-2022 campaign.