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The Betfair Big Interview: Swansea's Ben Davies

Ben Davies . . . a Swansea fan with a chance to make history

"The first few games you come into a team and all you want to do is make sure you don’t do anything wrong. But as the season has gone on I have started to feel a lot more confident. I think that has shown in my game."

It's been a Swan-sational season for football in Wales - and nobody has lived the dream more than 19-year-old left back Ben Davies. He was earning £400 a week back in August in the reserves, but will be a key part of Michael Laudrup's team for the Capital One Cup final at Wembley on Sunday. Betfair set off to South Wales to learn more...

Hi Ben. So everybody says your League Two opponents Bradford have had a fairytale season but it's not been so bad for you, has it?

Yeah, definitely, it has come very quick for me, and now it is a test of ambition this weekend and something I can't wait to be involved in.

Could you imagine at the start of the season you would be making a Wembley appearance?

No, not really, I just wanted to be involved with the team every week and just be a regular member of the squad and to add a Wembley appearance to that is pretty special. It was obviously sad to see what happened to Neil Taylor who broke his ankle, nobody wants to see that happen to another player, but it opened a massive opportunity for me.

You're a fan as well as a player, aren't you?

Yes, I've had a season ticket for several years now, but I used to go with my mates and watch them back in the days when they played at the Vetch when I was about seven or eight years old. It's very much my club.

Were you there for the Hull game when Swansea could have dropped out of the League?

No, at the time my dad was working in Denmark so we were living there - but I can remember trying to get the score from that game and being so delighted when it turned out ok.

So being the local lad does it mean more to you to be in their first Wembley final?

It would be wrong to say it means more to me than any other player, because I am pretty sure they all want to win this final as much as me, but to be a fan of the team as well as a player is something that means I would love to bring the cup back to Swansea.

How many family have you got going?

My mum, dad and sister, and then we have a lot of close friends going, so it is probably about 20 people in all.

Were you at Wembley for the play-off final two years ago?

It's the only time I've ever been there. I was in the stands as part of the Academy boys, with the under 18 team, but I was there as a supporter rather than because I had to be there. It was pretty nerve wracking, during the game and how it panned out, but it was an incredible day and something I will remember for a long time.  Hopefully we will be able to top that this week.

If it was nerve wracking watching, will it be less or more nerve wracking playing?

I think it might be less, once you are involved in the game you forget about everything else that is going on. I've tried to be like that all season - just focus on my performance and how the game is going.

Since that start you've had a new contract, you've not missed a Premier League game.  Do you feel like a Premier League player now?

I've tried not to be any different. I still live at home because why do I need to move out? It's five minutes from training and I've got my mum's cooking! I treated myself to a new car, an Audi A4, but nothing too flash. I was driving an old Polo at the start of the season but to be honest I reckoned that was ok for a first car. I've done all I can to focus on the football and nothing else.

Tell us about working for Michael Laudrup.

I didn't know a lot about him as a player.  When he took over my Dad told me just how great he was, and I was off to YouTube to look him up. It's been superb to know he has put faith in me and given me my chance. When Neil was injured he could easily have brought in another left back.  The transfer window had just closed but there are free agents, and January has come and gone since. Instead he showed plenty of faith in me and I would like to think I have repaid it for him.

You must have expected him to buy another left back.

Yes, if I'm honest.  I was hoping to get a couple of games and make the odd appearance throughout the season, but it has been incredible to think six months down the line where I am now, probably about to play in a cup final.

Can you put into words what it has done for your confidence?

To be honest, the first few games you come into a team and all you want to do is make sure you don't do anything wrong. Don't make any mistakes. Come off the pitch with a solid 90 minutes under your belt and build your experience.  But as the season has gone on I have started to feel a lot more confident, and that is just down to playing games and being a regular. I think that has shown in my game.

What is Michael like before a game?

He's very calm, actually. He doesn't get too worked up. I think that has been right for our team, you see nobody out on the pitch looking nervous at all. He is also very knowledgeable about the teams we come up against.

Tell us about his team talks?

He tends to talk for about 20 minutes normally, about how he wants us to play. And most of the time it is about us and not about the opposition, which is good because it doesn't get you thinking too hard of who you are against, or what difficulties you might come up against. As long as you play your game then hopefully you can nullify their threats anyway.

If you win on Sunday you will go into Europe, you weren't born the last time Swansea were in Europe.

It will be incredible for the city and incredible for the club, how far they have come in six or seven years from where they were to where they could be now.  If we get European football down here and some of the quality clubs that could come, it will be amazing.

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22 February 2013

Capital One Cup


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