Swansea’s flying winger Wayne Routledge explains to Jack Magazine why there’s no time to sit back and relax after signing a new Swans deal and why he has high hopes for the 2014-15 campaign.
Despite finding a home in Swansea, Wayne Routledge insists he won’t be resting on his laurels in SA1.
Since arriving in South West Wales from this afternoon’s opponents Newcastle United in June 2011, the flying winger has proved an integral part of the Swans’ success in recent seasons.
After playing a significant role in the club’s Capital One Cup triumph in 2013, the 29-year-old was one of Swansea’s leading performers last season and has continued that fine form into 2014-15.
Now, after putting pen-to-paper on a one-year contract extension last week, Routledge is eager to keep up the hard work to ensure he remains a mainstay in Garry Monk’s starting line-up.
“It was a simple decision for me,” said Routledge, who has committed his future to the club until the summer of 2018. “Once I found out about the option to extend, it was a no-brainer.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself as a person and as a footballer since I’ve been here, and I think I’ve progressed with the more games I play.
“Here, you have to be on the ball. And if you’re not performing up to standard then there’s always someone that can come in and do the job.
“We have a lot of players that aren’t involved as much as they would like, but they are more than capable of playing in the starting line-up. It’s up to you to keep the shirt.
“You have to be prepared to work, put the hard yards in and play the type of football the fans here are accustomed to.
“Everyone here has to be willing to work hard. We are footballers and we are all talented, but talent is nothing without the hard work.
“Football is a game where if you stop learning then you will stop enjoying and improving yourself.
“The harder you are prepared to work, the better results you get. That’s what we are seeing now.”
Having started his professional career with Crystal Palace 13 years ago, making his senior debut at the age of just 16, Routledge has a long list of former clubs.
After coming through the ranks at Selhurst Park he moved to Tottenham in 2005, prior to switching to Aston Villa three years later following loan spells with Fulham and Portsmouth.
The 12-time England Under-21 international also spent a brief loan stint at Cardiff City in late 2008 before moving to Queens Park Rangers in January 2009.
He then completed a move to Newcastle in 2010, prior to joining the Swans a year later.
And after three successful seasons in SA1, Routledge feels settled in South West Wales, having clocked up 85 league starts for the club – the most he has ever achieved at any single club throughout his career.
“I wish I had found a club like this a few years earlier because what it can do for your game is amazing,” he added.
“It gives you confidence and belief that you play the way the game should be played, in my opinion.
“I came here when the club had just got into the Premier League and it’s been a great journey so far.
“We’ve grown and grown, and I still think we are growing.
“I’m happy to have this extra year at a club that I feel is on the up and is going places.
“We have two brilliant new training facilities, a lovely stadium and a manager and team of staff that is prepared to put in a lot of hard work and effort to get us to where we all want to be.
“It’s the whole package, and it’s a good fit.”
So far this season, the former Crystal Palace trainee has featured in all six of Swansea’s Barclays Premier League fixtures, while his stunning right-footed volley in the Swans’ 3-0 home victory over West Brom in August was nominated for goal of the month.
Labelled ‘Mr. Consistent’ by his manager Garry Monk, Routledge’s new deal is just rewards for the winger’s contribution, according to the Swans boss.
“He deserves it because in my time here he’s probably been our most consistent performer – and he’s still performing,” said Monk.
“His time before coming here was well documented but he’s now found a home, somewhere he can be himself.”
And while Routledge may have found himself a home in South West Wales, Swansea City are growing ever more accustomed to life in the Premier League as they enjoy their fourth season in the top tier.
“It’s matured a lot here,” added the Sidcup-born winger. “We came into the Premier League with the ethos that we wanted to pass the ball – and nothing has changed in that respect.
“But now we have a different tempo with a slightly different style, and I think we have more of a cutting edge.
“We worked very hard in pre-season with what Garry wants us to do this year, and I feel we have applied that on the pitch.
“The manager knows the players well so he knows exactly how to deal with each individual player.
“But with the staff and players we have here, everyone knows what is expected of them because that is explained clearly.
“We had a great start with three straight wins, but it didn’t come as a surprise in our changing room.
“There’s a lot of potential here, and I believe it’s all about how far we want to take it.
“Everyone is together. A team that works together and pushes itself to the limit will get the best results.”