The agonising choice Swansea City must make in order to preserve their long-term Premier League future


It will be a big occasion when Swansea City host Tottenham in the FA Cup quarter-finals this weekend, but I have to be honest and say I would gladly swap going further in the cup for another seven or eight points in the Premier League.

It’s a deal I would gladly take, and I think a lot of Swansea fans would feel the same.

I know others may ask why Swansea cannot try and do both; to secure the points needed for survival and win the cup.

But it comes down to the fact that one of them has to take priority, and the Premier League has the edge over the cup because of the money and status at stake for the football club.

I understand that fans dream of success, the big days out and you could also argue that success in one competition can breed success in another.

But Swansea have got some big, big games coming up in the Premier League and they will be the most important thing.

Swansea claimed a creditable draw against Huddersfield

It’s sad in a way because it shows how the stature of the FA Cup has changed. Not many Premier League clubs play their full side in the competition, we have seen Swansea and Tottenham make a number of changes for all their cup games.

I think those days when the FA Cup almost went hand-in-hand with league football have sadly gone.

We have even had situations in recent years where league games have been played the same day as the final, or in the weeks after it. That is just crazy.

To be a centre-piece it needs to stand alone as the final game of the season but it just shows the domination and saturation of the Premier League.

Swansea will go into the game on the back of an excellent point at Huddersfield, and full credit to the 10 men and substitutes who held out under major pressure to make sure the Terriers could not find a way through.

Three months ago, under those circumstances, I think Swansea may have crumbled and ended up losing 3-0. So huge credit for the commitment and effort.

Swansea City's Jordan Ayew is consoled by brother Andre
Swansea City’s Jordan Ayew is consoled by brother Andre

But Jordan Ayew will surely have been told that his tackle on Jonathan Hogg was a moment of stupidity, it was an unnecessary challenge to make so early in the game and it gave his side so much to do.

It was not a malicious tackle, but it was an error of judgement. The saying always used to be that forwards cannot tackle, and it was certainly a forward’s tackle, with a fair bit of self-preservation thrown in.

It looked like he was concerned about getting hurt in the challenge and tried to protect himself, which can ultimately end up being the worst thing to do.

He will be missed while he is suspended because he has been in very good form, but hopefully his team-mates can continue to perform well themselves to ensure his absence is not felt too keenly.

No surprises in Wales squad – but I’d love to see Alfie in England’s plans

Ryan Giggs names his first Wales squad on Thursday but I don’t expect to see a huge change in personnel given we don’t have that sort of depth as a nation.

But it would be good to see some of the younger players in there who have served notice of what they can do for Wales.

You would like to think the likes of Ethan Ampadu and Ben Woodburn could learn an awful lot from Giggs.

Ryan Giggs will take charge of Wales for the first time against China on March 22

He will be able to empathise with their position of being young players trying to find their place alongside more experienced stars because that was his own experience as a player for club and country.

With Manchester United and Wales, he made the breakthrough as a teenager and had to adjust to being alongside much older players.

That experience can surely only be a help for guys like Ampadu and Woodburn, even though they have already been very impressive in what we have seen.

When it comes to the England squad I would also like to see Alfie Mawson included, on current form he deserves to be given his chance by Gareth Southgate.

It would be a wonderful experience for the Swansea defender, for him to get to be part of that set-up and get a taste of the international environment.

He surely has to have a great shout with the way he has been playing recently.

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