I’ve been one of Neil Taylor’s biggest critics this season, and his recent performances back up my point that Swansea City crave a new starting left-back. Could the solution be in the form of Stephen Kingsley?
Taylor’s showings in the last few months have been direful. Going by these performances, it genuinely seems as if he’s miles below the level of anyone else on the field; his touch is off, he struggles to make an accurate pass and when he’s in possession there’s only one thing on his mind, and that’s to pass the ball backwards and stop any form of attacking momentum. Plus, when he does get into a position where he can cross the ball into the box, his delivery is woeful. It’s agonising!
Don’t get me wrong; Taylor is a good footballer, otherwise he wouldn’t have played in the Premier League for five years and he wouldn’t be a Wales international either. But there’s just pure frustration watching him from the stands. I – along with many other Swansea fans – have now come to the conclusion that we need a new left-back. Or perhaps not even a new left-back, but someone to come in and overtake Taylor for the starting position. Cue Stephen Kingsley.
The departure of Ben Davies in 2014 was a big loss and now it has come to fruition. We’ve struggled to fill the void left by him, especially in an attacking sense. The Swans now offer little to no full-back threat, which in contrast to every other Premier League club is a major flaw. In the modern game, teams need full-backs to support the wingers or even overlap the wingers and produce a killer ball into the box. This is what Davies was doing week in week out, and this is what Kingsley offers us too. Kingsley can become our new Davies.
We’ve only seen the Scotsman play three times for the club; against Oxford United in the FA Cup and two league games against Arsenal and Aston Villa – but he has made a huge impact on all occasions. He was thrown into the Swansea starting line-up to play against Arsenal at the Emirates in early March, and performed excellently, containing Joel Campbell and Alexis Sanchez very well. The Scottish Under-21 international also attacked well in the Swans’ shock 1-0 win over the Gunners, sending in some sublime crosses.
Kingsley was then again selected by Francesco Guidolin to play in the recent clash with Aston Villa – another 1-0 triumph. He was immense against Villa, although it was extremely risky for Guidolin to play the Scot with the formation that Swansea played with that day.
The Italian coach set the Swans out to play without a left winger, with Sigurdsson roaming around instead of being stuck on the left. This resulted in the whole right side of Villa’s attack to penetrate Kingsley alone. However, he defended tremendously and kept the Villans quiet with ease. He also attacked well, showing great enthusiasm, intent and maturity. Keeping out Villa – even if they were pretty lacklustre – was a great feat, and one which displayed that Kingsley is already a more than capable full-back.
At 21-years of age, the former Falkirk defender still has plenty of time to improve and gain experience. He’s already showcased his ability, and how he can comfortably start for Swansea in the top-flight. Show faith in Kingsley and he could be Swansea’s starting left-back for many years to come. Or at least until one of the big clubs come in for him.