Swans' pass masters are perfect model - Southgate
GARETH Southgate reckons Swansea City have created a blueprint that clubs up and down the country should follow.
The former England defender was once in the running to take over in SA1 before Brendan Rodgers got the job just over two years ago.
Six months later Southgate was appointed the Football Association's head of elite development.
There he worked alongside Sir Trevor Brooking to establish how best to bring through future England stars.
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And the ex-Middlesbrough manager thinks Swansea's recipe for success is one worth following.
"It would take time obviously, you can't introduce big changes into the way teams play overnight, but it would be worth that time," said Southgate.
"If you look at the FA's specifications and recommendations, Swansea's model of playing fits perfectly.
"It really slots in with the way great football should be played and it's great that Swansea City have been able to show what they can do in the Premier League.
"I think we can expect other clubs to take notice of what Swansea are doing, and for it to be reflected in the way they play themselves."
Brighton are one side who seem to have copied the Swansea template which has been characterised by simple, patient passing.
But Southgate, who has been promoting the Phones4u Upgrade Your Team campaign, believes there is another key element to the approach.
Though Swansea's fluent football may give the impression of careful control, he reckons they're gamblers.
"Swansea play a possession game and it's good to see them go from strength to strength," he added.
"But the crucial thing with Swansea City is that they're prepared to take chances, which isn't the case for a lot of clubs."
Michael Laudrup is the latest man tasked with maintaining a style introduced by Roberto Martinez and influenced by Paulo Sousa and Brendan Rodgers.
During his time as Boro boss, Southgate beat Sousa's Swansea at the start of the 2009-10 campaign.
Goals from Adam Johnson, future Swansea loanee Marvin Emnes and Tuncay gave the visitors a 3-0 win at the Liberty that day.
Since then Swansea have moved through the Championship under Rodgers before Laudrup succeeded him last summer.
It is the Dane's first taste of English football, having previously managed in Denmark, Spain and Moscow after a playing career that also saw him visit Italy, Holland and Japan.
"Michael's playing career obviously goes without saying, and I know how highly thought of he was in Spain," added Southgate.
"He's taken to the job at Swansea City very well, he definitely knows how to run a football club well.
"Michael has really put his stamp on the way the team plays but at the same time I think that Martinez really has to take some of the credit too.
"Michael is the latest in a row of three or four excellent managers at Swansea, which just shows how important it is to have continuity in the running of a team.
"It maintains a certain style of play that works so well at Swansea. It really helps to have that legacy."
The Phones 4u 'Upgrade Your Team' campaign is giving away £2,000 to ten local amateur football teams across the UK to spend on upgrading their squad, plus the opportunity for ex-England star Southgate to play in one lucky winner's local match. Visit www.facebook.com/ Phones4u to enter.