Michael Laudrup tips Rory Donnelly to shine in the Premier League
MICHAEL Laudrup reckons Rory Donnelly can be a future Premier League star.
Donnelly is in contention to make only the third appearance of his Swansea City career at Birmingham City tomorrow.
And Laudrup has given the 21-year-old a vote of confidence as he bids to break through in the professional game.
The Swansea manager gave Donnelly his senior debut as a substitute in the Capital One Cup at Crawley last September. And he handed the Northern Irishman his first start in a Swansea shirt at Petrolul Ploiesti last month.
Now Donnelly is hoping for more game-time as Laudrup prepares to shuffle his pack at St Andrew's.
If he does play, Donnelly will run out knowing Laudrup believes he can make the grade in the top flight.
The Dane has indicated that the former Cliftonville man could be sent out on loan at some point this season — but only to aid his progress at the Liberty.
"Rory is a talent, a real talent," Laudrup said. "He has quality, but striker is a very difficult position to play.
"The player needs to be prepared, or everybody needs to feel he is prepared, and Rory is somewhere in between at the moment.
"On the one hand I would like him to go out on loan and play regularly in the Championship, because I think he is at the level to go there right now and do well.
"We all saw that he did well in pre-season and we saw that he can offer something. Maybe he needs some experience and then to come back, but I definitely think he has a future in the Premier League."
Donnelly is one of a host of fringe men who could come into contention to feature against the Blues.
Club skipper Garry Monk may make his first appearance of the season — just as he did at Crawley last term — while the likes of Dwight Tiendalli and Roland Lamah could also start.
Swansea take on a Birmingham side who are currently 18th in the Championship as they begin their defence of the Capital One Cup.
Laudrup has always been a fan of knockout competitions, but will want to rest a number of his senior men after a brutal week which saw Swansea face Liverpool, Valencia and Crystal Palace inside six days.
Laudrup's side entertain Arsenal on Saturday before the focus switches back to the Europa League, with St Gallen due at the Liberty in nine days' time.
The League Cup, therefore, may have to take a back seat for Swansea this season.