Date:Friday March 4 2011
Former England and Liverpool winger John Barnes is the latest admirer of Swansea City's impressive passing style of football.
Gary Speed, Kevin Keegan along with a number of Championship managers have complimented Swansea's style under Brendan Rodgers this season and John Barnes believes we have enough quality to not only win promotion to the Premier League, but to better Blackpool's superb achievements this year in the top flight.
John Barnes said:
'Swansea are an excellent side to watch and they play some fantastic football,'
'It's a very difficult league to get out of, but Swansea will have big aspirations of getting up.
'A lot of clubs in the Championship have ambitions of going up.
'But Blackpool got in the Premier League on a shoestring budget last year and look at how they have done.
'In my opinion, Swansea would do an even better job in the Premier League. They certainly have a better chance.
'I expect them to at least be in the play-offs, but it wouldn't be a surprise at all if they finished in the top two.
'If I had to put money on it, I'd back them to go up because of the form they are in.'
Barnes was particularly complimentary of the two wingers - Nathan Dyer and Scott Sinclair, who are so vital to our attacking play.
'Having two wingers is very ambitious in modern football because the opposition flood the midfield and make it difficult,'
'It shows that Swansea want to play in an attacking style. That has a lot to do with the fact they are involved in so many entertaining games.
'Sinclair and Dyer will hurt a lot of defences because they have superb pace and control. They know how to get in and behind full-backs.
'They did really well to get Sinclair there — it really shows the ambition of the club.
'A lot was thought of him when he was at Chelsea and he wasn't given too much of a chance during his loan spell at Wigan.
'But he could still be at a Premier League club, easily. He opted to drop down and it's paying off for him.
'It shows that sometimes a step back is a launchpad to success.
'Dyer, too, has been excellent. He is such a dangerous little player.
'Full-backs will look at them thinking 'how am I going to stop these guys?' There's not much of an answer to that.
'When you play the way Swansea do with two wingers you are always open to the counter.
'It will make it quite difficult for the central midfielders, but they cope very well.
'I think the whole squad understands the way the manager wants them to play, and that is priceless in today's game.'
Barnes also complimented Darren Pratley, who he called up to the Jamaican national squad when he was manager in 2008-2009.
'Darren didn't make it early on (at Fulham) but he's always had the quality and the enthusiasm. You can see those qualities in the way he is during games,'
'He can play in a number of roles in midfield — his energy levels mean he is everywhere around the pitch.
'I called him up for Jamaica and I was thinking of using him in front of the defence. He can certainly play there.
'I would have loved to have given him his international debut. Ever since I've seen him play I think he can do anything.
'He can attack, defend, hassle the opposition — he is an all-action player. He is not only a fan's player, he is a manager's player. He can fulfil many roles.
'Darren is a fantastic player and could easily play in the Premier League as he is Premier League quality. Hopefully he'll get there next season with Swansea, because they both deserve it.'
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Date:Friday March 4 2011
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