Another young talent and Swansea City’s academy product is now been touted by the Swans to be the next big thing after the emergence of former Swansea and academy graduate Daniel James, who recently took the next step by signing for Manchester United.
Joseph Peter Rodon or simply Joe Rodon, is a young talented 22-year-old, who is regarded as one of the best centre back in the EFL Championship. He’s a Welsh professional footballer playing for Swansea City.
He grew up in Llangyfelach, Swansea, and was also a Swansea City season ticket holder before joining the club’s youth rank in 2005, at the age of 8. Ten years after joining the youth rank, he had an impressive but steady rise to the first team, which had him sign his first professional contract with Swansea at the age of eighteen.
In order to get some first team experience under his belt, Rodon joined EFL League Two side Cheltenham Town on loan until the end of the 2017–18 season during 2018 January transfer window.
Cheltenham Town manager Gary Johnson said that “we have been keeping an eye on him for some time and he is undoubtedly a quality player”.
Coming back from his not too successful loan spell in terms of playing time, he eventually made his breakthrough in 2018/19 with Swansea, making his first start in a 1-0 win over Preston in August 2018 and he later went on to start 23 league games during that season.
Shortly after his debut for The Swans, the then Swansea’s manager Graham Potter publicly urged the club’s management to tie Rodon down to a longer contract with the club, after been impressed with the start he had as a first-team player.
“I think we need to do it quickly and that’s something we’re doing behind the scenes,” he said in October 2018. “He knows he’s in the best place now and in an environment which he likes and suits him.
“We want him to be a top player for Wales and they have the potential to play at the very highest level.”
With Rodon’s impressive form at club level during 2018/2019 season, his performance caught the attention of Wales manager Ryan Giggs. The talented defender was rewarded with an international call-up to Wales senior national team in September 2019 and has now made four appearances for his country thus far.
This season, Rodon has been a mainstay at the defense under Swansea’s new manager Steve Cooper. He has started 20 Championship games already, and the centre-back’s performances have helped to stable the Swans defense with his intelligent tackles and interceptions. He has been able to contribute 22 successful tackles, 33 interceptions, 113 clearances and 30 blocks in Championship games.
Standing at 6ft 4in, he possesses an aerial prowess, winning 3.5 aerial duals per game.
Rodon is also known to be a ball-playing centre-back, comfortable with the ball at his feet, amassing 81.9 pass success percentage this season, which has earned him comparisons to Manchester City’s defender John Stones by fans and media.
Sports journalist Dominic Booth, who formerly covered Swansea for the South Wales Evening Post, told Sky Sports he was destined for bigger things.
“He brings the ball out from the back, he’s comfortable with it at his feet. Rodon was part of the Swansea U23 side who won the Premier League cup in 2017, alongside the likes of Oli McBurnie and Dan James – it’s been a good crop from the club’s academy to break through.
“Rodon is a leader given his age, a bit of an old head on young shoulders. He’s good in the air despite not being a huge presence, and looks destined for bigger things.”
Manchester United legend and current Wales manager Ryan Giggs, said in an interview with The Athletic that he sees similarities with 1990s four-time Premier League winner Pallister.
“Joe has grown over the last year or so. He is quick. Sometimes you don’t appreciate it,” said Giggs. “It was the day after a game and we gave some players running drills, box to box. He was running with someone fast and went past them, effortlessly. I thought, ‘Oh, I hadn’t seen that .’
“It made me think a little bit of Gary Pallister. You don’t think of him as quick but when he got going at his peak, he was. When Pally got into the channels, no one out-ran him. So that suits the way I want to play.
“I want my full-backs high, so if central defenders do have to get out wide and cover those positions, they are comfortable.
“In possession, Joe shows composure and he’s a good character. I saw him giving the ball away and being unhappy with himself. I liked that. Bit intense but set standards and if he didn’t keep to them, he wasn’t happy with himself.”
With his continuous rise and high catching contributions for The Swans, it won’t be a surprise if he eventually finds himself playing for a Premier league side next season.