Swansea City’s new guy Nathan Wood’s biggest asset and why Middlesbrough let him go

Swansea City completed the first bit of transfer business last week with the signing of Nathan Wood from Middlesbrough.

The move came slightly out of leftfield, with some links emerging before the player was announced. Swansea won’t mind that under-the-radar deals are priceless at any level of football.

The 20-year-old joins on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee, with an option for another 12 months, after head coach Russell Martin revealed he had been eyeing the centre-back for two years.

It would be fair to say that Wood’s departure from the borough was also unexpected from the borough end. we talked craig johns of teasidelive To get feedback from Riverside and ask what kind of player Martin is getting…

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What is Swansea getting into Nathan Wood?

Wood is a truly talented and promising young centre-back with excellent pedigree and exciting ability. Although he hasn’t managed to make the full move to the regular first-team at Borough, he has been on the fringes since his debut at the age of just 16. He is a youth international from England and comes through a Borough academy, which has a rich history of producing Premier League quality centre-backs.

He is good on the ball and is already an intelligent player. He has had good days and bad days in some of his first-team appearances for Borough as you might expect from a youngster like him. His performance last season was what Wood could have been when he needed to be on the team due to injury against Nottingham Forest. Borough won 1–0, and Wood came into the team and slipped uninterrupted, a more confident 18-year-old than he had ever been. Nothing went to him and he was pinging some lovely deliveries from the defence.

What happened in Middlesbrough? Why was he let go?

It was a difficult year for him. After a successful loan period at Crewe at the end of the 2020-21 season, he again went on loan to Hibbs but never managed to break into their side. He made only one appearance and returned early.

Because he played for Borough in the Carabao Cup, the two-club-in-one-season rule prohibited him from going elsewhere on loan and was therefore forced to spend the second half of the previous season at Borough. Where he didn’t really get close to the first team. He made just one appearance under Chris Wilder and it was a really tough afternoon at Mansfield in the Cup.

In his defence, he didn’t recover from Covid for long, but he didn’t take advantage of his chances. That, Wilder had many options, and Borough suffered limited injuries, meant that Wood had been playing under-23 football in the previous term.

He’s still only 20, but he’s now at a point where he’s too good for under-23 football, but hasn’t made the leap to the first team at the borough. He could have gone out on loan again, but he only had a year left on his borough deal and I think it was a disappointment on his part that success had not yet come, with Wilder strong behind in the summer transfer market. wanted to be very.

I think the opportunity for a sustainable move for Swansea really suits all sides. Borough is not a club that keeps players on hold and runs the risk of stalling their careers. If they really feel that it is in the best interest of the player then they will let him move on.

Is he fit to play from behind? Is he confident on the ball?

This is probably one of his biggest assets as he is growing physically. Borough has a top-notch academy and at that level the modern game is all about playing with the ball on the ground.

It is schooling for players at the borough’s academy from a young age. Even as the captain of the England U-20 team, I think you need something about yourself to play at that level, regardless of age group. Swansea seems to be a really good fit for Nathan and I saw Russell Martin say they tried to sign him twice before at MK Dawns, which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.

What is his roof? Do you think he will succeed at Swansea?

It’s hard to say right now. I remember looking at how mature he was at 18 against Nottingham Forest last season and thinking, ‘this guy is going too high’. He has so many assets and qualities that could see him becoming a Premier League regular in the years to come.

But right now he is still growing physically and his recent Borough performances since that game have been less convincing. He was sent on loan in January 2021 after a poor performance against Rotherham, where he was physically bullied by Michael Smith, failed to work his way into contention at Hibernian and then struggled with physical demands at Mansfield .

Even if he can fill in and gain more muscle over the next few years, he may still fully reach his true potential. He is big but moves well for someone of his size and, as mentioned above, is really comfortable on the ball.

However, if he is to take his career to the next level, he will need to deal better with the physical aspect of the senior game in the years to come. I personally really hope he succeeds at Swansea as he is an excellent youngster off the pitch as well as an excellent prospect at it.

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