Way helping to nurture stars of the future
Former Swans midfielder Darren Way is hoping to help his old club develop two of its young guns into future first-team stars.
Way, who spent three seasons at the Liberty Stadium, is now first-team coach at League Two Yeovil where Swansea’s young professionals Connor Roberts and Josh Sheehan are currently gaining Football League experience on loan.
Defender Roberts joined the set-up at Huish Park in August, with midfielder Josh Sheehan joining him a month later.
“It is great to give something back to both clubs I played for during my career,” said Way, who signed for the Swans in 2006 from Yeovil for £150,000.
“Swansea players have made something like 140 appearances for Yeovil and many have gone on to make successful careers after their loan moves with us.
“We had Liam Shephard on loan with us last season. I spoke to Garry Monk a month after he returned to Swansea and he told us he came back like a man, which is great to hear.
“Connor and Josh have been great to have here. Both players have made an impact with the squad and I believe they have the potential to go on and play at the highest level.
“Our responsibility is to make sure we give them experience to help them further their career in football. If their loan move here gives them that advantage, we have all done our jobs.”
The 36-year-olds playing career was tragically cut short by a life-threatening car accident soon after he re-signed for the Somerset club in 2008 after 31 making appearances for the Swans during an injury-hit spell.
Despite not being able to return to the field following his lengthy recovery, Way admits the serious accident sent him on a different career path within football.
“I don’t miss the playing side of things at all,” he continued. “I have a real driving desire to help young players develop and I think I gained that from having my playing career taken away.
“I try to channel my energy in a different direction now. I have so much enthusiasm to help players like Connor and Josh, especially when you see them playing at a higher level two or three years down the line.
“The link has been a success and it is a privilege to help develop Swansea players here at Huish Park.’’
Both Roberts and Sheehan, who are enjoying their first taste of League football, continue to make an impact during their loan spell at Huish Park this season.
Roberts has played every game so far this season, recently scoring the winning penalty to help the League Two side progress to the semi-finals of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Meanwhile, Sheehan – back on loan with Yeovil for a second time – has scored twice for the Glovers this season, including his first ever league goal against Accrington.
“It is a brilliant experience to play here,” Roberts said. “League Two it is much more physical compared to the football we play at Under-21 level, but I am enjoying it.
Sheehan added: “There is nothing better than playing in front of crowds. It was a great moment for me to score my first league goal earlier this season and hopefully I can bring more during my time here.
“The move is definitely helping me and Connor improve our game - which we can hopefully give back to Swansea when we return.”
Watch the full feature with Darren Way, Connor Roberts and Josh Sheehan in Friday’s episode of Swans In Focus on Swans TV.