Saturday 18 November 2017

Swansea players inspired by 'Jack to a King' DVD, says Leon Britton

Leon Britton has played a key role behind the scenes at Swansea
Leon Britton has played a key role behind the scenes at Swansea

Leon Britton has revealed how handing out copies of the film chronicling Swansea's rise in English football around the dressing room gave them a Premier League lifeline.

Club captain Britton is the last surviving link from the Swansea squad which avoided dropping out of the Football League on the final day of the 2002-03 season.

That was the start of a fairytale journey which would eventually take Swansea into the Premier League in 2011, and then onto Europe as 2013 League Cup winners.

The romantic tale was made into a film - Jack to a King - but the story is in danger of having an unhappy ending, with Swansea's top flight status now at risk.

Swansea remain two points adrift of 17th-placed Hull with four games remaining, but Saturday's 2-0 home victory over Stoke has fostered fresh belief that they can avoid the drop.

"I gave the players the DVD of Jack to a King on Friday," Britton said after returning to the first team for the first time since New Year's Eve.

"I got 25 copies of it and gave it to each of the boys. I said, 'Listen, if you get a spare hour or so before the Stoke game have a watch'.

"Maybe some of them don't understand - they come to a Premier League club and think it's always been like this, and you don't blame them.

"They don't know it wasn't that long ago we were washing our own kit and trying to find somewhere to train.

"So I just said, 'Have a watch and see how much it means to some people'."

Britton, who was making his first appearance under head coach Paul Clement, got the desired response as goals from Fernando Llorente and Tom Carroll gave Swansea their first win in seven games.

But the 34-year-old veteran admitted he did not ask his team-mates if they had watched the film.

"I don't think that would have gone down too well," smiled Britton, an influential midfield figure on the occasion of his 517th game for Swansea.

"But a few of the boys did make some comments about it before the match and what happened in it. So I think quite a few of them did watch it."

Bottom two Middlesbrough and Sunderland already appear certain to be playing Championship football next season.

And Swansea or Hull, 2-0 winners over Watford despite being reduced to 10 men after 25 minutes, seem likely to fill the final relegation place.

"People could have been a bit down after seeing the Hull result, but I have not seen that," Britton said.

"Everyone is very positive and delighted with the performance.

"We know if we perform like that and fight over these next four games we will have a chance of staying up.

Stoke's afternoon was a familiar story on the road, with the mid-table Potters having picked up only one point from their last six away games.

Mark Hughes' side have not scored away from home since winning 3-1 at Sunderland on January 14, and £12million striker Saido Berahino has not found the net in 11 games since joining from West Brom.

Berahino had two golden chances to open his account at Swansea, but made a hash of close-range headers.

"He just needs that one break where the ball falls to him in the box and he can get a strike on goal," boss Hughes said.

"He's probably putting himself in positions where it's not his natural game because he wants to help the team.

"That's always admirable, but sometimes as a striker you want them to have a selfish streak, ignore everyone else and put your foot through it.

"If he gets a goal then he's off and running. All strikers need that.

"It's only now we're giving him a run of games, so he's relatively early in his career with us.

"It will be about next year and he's benefiting from the games he is having with us."

Press Association

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