Date:Sunday December 29 2013
Centre back Kyle Bartley is one of five Swansea City players who are currently out on loan, and Vital Swansea have been interested in his progress at Championship side Birmingham City.
The other four players on loan are David Cornell (St Mirren), Ki Sung Yueng (Sunderland), Leroy Lita (Brighton) and Gwion Edwards (St Johnstone).
22 year-old Bartley joined the Swans for £1m from Arsenal at the start of manager Michael Laudrup's first season at the club. After making a handful of appearances in his opening year at the club, in which he played well against his former club but no so much in a heavy 5-0 defeat at Liverpool, after that - Bartley struggled to make another appearance and it became inevitable that he needed a loan move.
He joined a number of other young loan players at Birmingham and after an indifferent start at St Andrews, he appears to be impressing the fans in recent weeks.
In 17 appearances this season, he has scored 5 goals thanks to his presence at set pieces - with most of his goals if not all of them coming from crosses into the box.
Here are some recent comments from Birmingham fans on Kyle Bartley:
'Three clean sheets out of three since he came back into the team, compared to the defensive shambles we were at the start of the season'
'He's had a fairly consistent run over the last couple of months and has been excellent. He has every attribute needed to be a Premier League defender - height, pace, strength, reads the game well, dominant in the air - I think he thinks he's already a top player, and maybe coming down and slumming it with us in front of half empty stadiums has given him the reality check he needs to apply himself. He's our best centre half by a country mile.'
'He came down here and acted like he was already a premier league defender. The turning point was the Charlton game at home. We lost and were terrible, but he was outstanding. Kept the score down to just 1. I gave him 8 out of 10 and MOTM, and was hammered by almost everyone who said he was shit. He wasn't, and since then he's been excellent. Hardly a surprise that we keep 3 clean sheets in a row with Bartley in top form.'
'Started the season awfully - had the swagger of a bloke who thought he was better than he was. Needed to dig in and knuckle down, and he has done. He's been fantastic since he's been back in the team. Has all the makings of a premier league centre half. Pace, strength, reads it well.'
Birmingham manager Lee Clarke also said of Bartley back in November:
"I still think there`s a lot more to come from him because you see the size of him, the athleticism.
"He has got a change of pace, which I have told him before, that not many defenders outside the Premier League have.
"And, when it is required, he can pass as well being very comfortable on the ball.
"He has done really well but I do think there is a lot more to come from him."
Date:Sunday December 29 2013
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