Alfei marvels at the way football should be played

Daniel Alfei on defensive duty against Oxford on Saturday Picture: Barry Zee
Daniel Alfei on defensive duty against Oxford on Saturday Picture: Barry Zee

Daniel Alfei has reached the end of the Swansea production line, now he requires first-team football to develop further.

Yet, looking over his shoulder he cannot help but marvel at the youngsters continuing to be honed in the mould of footballing brilliance.

The Swans’ stylish brand is not merely concentrated on their first team, it is ingrained at every single level.

From the under-nines upwards, starlets are taught the importance of patience and possession, educated in passing and creativity.

Local lad Alfei attended such lessons, having emerged through the ranks, and is currently spending a month’s loan at Fratton Park.

And the 21-year-old has nothing but admiration for the Welsh club’s long-standing system.

He said: ‘At Swansea the sessions are short and sharp in small areas.

‘It is ingrained in you to keep the ball and not force it. If it needs to come back to go somewhere else then do that, don’t force it and drag players around by playing it forward. It’s just things they keep on to you all the time.

‘If someone has done something they will stop training and tell you that you should have done this or should have done that and why. It has always been passed through the club and they have carried on doing it.

‘There is no hiding place – when you are training you have got to want the ball all the time, be confident on the ball and keep it as well. It’s no good you coming for the ball and giving it away every time.

‘You do it so much you get used to it and that is how you are used to playing since you are young, from the under-nines even.

‘You see kids down the park kicking it and then all of them chasing it – that is how I was when I was younger – but some kids in the under-nines are unbelievable.

‘They are playing it out from the back from goal-kicks and cutting teams apart.

‘It’s great for them but you don’t see that at many clubs. It’s great Swansea are doing that for little kids.

‘You see teams like the Barcelonas, Real Madrids, Bayern Munichs and even international teams like Spain, Germany, Brazil and Italy – they all win big competitions.

‘I know British teams have won trophies as well but football seems to be going that way where there are foreign players coming into the country and people are just trying to replicate how the big clubs in the world are playing.’

The right-back has also progressed through the Welsh international set-up, from the under-17s to the under-21s.

Highly regarded by the Swans, he signed a two-year extension in the summer to take him to 2016.

And during his Pompey time he is hoping to demonstrate the Swansea brand of attacking full-back he has been taught.

Alfei added: ‘Swansea want the full-backs to get involved going forwards as much as going back. The main priority is to defend as a defender, but the more you can get forward and join in the better.

‘When I was young I was a striker, then I played central midfield for years and then, when I was 13, moved back into defence, but I still like to get forward.

‘You see a lot of right-backs now, hardly any of them sit back .They all go forward, get involved, get crosses in, set things up, so that is what I like to do.

‘Especially at Swansea, that is how they like players to perform.’