Low-key friendly exposes Swans contrasting similarities

Mark Pitman reports from The Marstons Stadium as Afan Lido take on a Swansea City XI in a low-profile match that seems set to confirm a high-profile exit from the Liberty Stadium.

Swansea City sent a young team to play a low-key friendly and Welsh Premier League side Afan Lido on Tuesday night. Alan Curtis took his place in the dugout as Tony Pennock watched on from the sidelines to oversee a rare opportunity that his players had to show how they can perform against senior opposition. In-amongst the young Swans side were Shaun MacDonald to offer some experience at centre-half, even though he is still only 23, while Tom Butler continued his rehabilitation after a long-injury with a place in the starting line-up. The seniority list was completed however by David Cotterill, an almost forgotten by-product of Swansea City’s recent success, and a player who’s career has covered more ground than his young years but not his hairline suggest.

What many outside of the Swans fraternity fail to realise is that David Cotterill, like Shaun MacDonald, is still just 23. While MacDonald has only ever left his hometown club for a series of loan-spells at Yeovil Town, Cotterill has been the subject of a number of big-money transfers that include a £2m switch to Wigan while he was still a teenager as well as breaking the Swansea City transfer record at the time in a £600,000 move from Sheffield United. He has also played for Bristol City and more recently was loaned out to Portsmouth having failed to hold down a place in the Swans starting line-up. His impressive career stats also include 19 caps for Wales since making his debut for his country 2005.

While MacDonald has worked hard for his chance with both Swansea City and Wales, making the most of his opportunities with the club he grew up supporting and the country he has shined for at Under-21 level, Cotterill was making a name for himself for all the wrong reasons at the age of 20 when he publicly criticised then-manager John Toshack for leaving him out of the squad. Although later re-instated to wear the Welsh shirt by Toshack, it was another significant moment in an already eventful career, and one that the once-capped MacDonald would never be expected to add to his CV.

But on Tuesday night, the duo were both named as part of the young Swans starting line-up in a sparsely-filled Marstons Stadium while their team-mates prepare to take on Celtic at the Liberty Stadium the following evening, and their inclusion could prove to be significant in their careers. MacDonald has found his level in League One with Yeovil Town in recent seasons and has become a fan-favourtie at Huish Park having already played more than twice as many games for the Glovers than he has for the Swans. It seems likely that MacDonald will pay the price of Swansea’s promotion to the Premier League and his sixth return to Yeovil will more than likely be a permanent one. Continue reading