This season Swansea have been spending time in the lower reaches of the English Premier League. However, underneath the glitz and glamour of the first team, there is no denying that but there are plenty of positives to take from the Welsh side’s U23 squad, who are currently seven points clear at the top of Premier League 2's second tier. Non more so than the growing Scottish contingency waiting patiently for opportunities to impress. Six of the all conquering squad are from north of the border. Jay Fulton, Stephen Kingsley, Oliver McBurnie, Botti Bia-bi, Ryan Blair and Adam King have all impressed to the point where they have secured deals to be part of the Swansea setup and collected some first team appearances in the process.
Jay Fulton is a third generation footballer. His grandad Norrie Fulton scored the winning goal in the Scottish Junior Cup final for Pollok, and his dad Stephen who spent time with Hearts and Bolton Wanderers. Jay started his professional career at Falkirk and made his first team debut at the age of 17, eventually reaching over a century of appearances. This impressive run secured him a two and a half year deal at the Welsh outfit. He opened his account in a 4-1 victory against Peterborough last August, and he has featured in the Premier League. His consistent performances earned him a new deal, keeping him at the Liberty Stadium until the summer of 2018.
Stephen Kingsley’s rise has been equally impressive. The 22 year old defender originally played for his local team, Riverside FC in Stirling, before he was added to Falkirk academy and subsequently impressed enough to secure a transfer to Swans. He eventually made his first team debut last January in a premier league match against Arsenal. His performances have also earned him a Scotland cap, coming on against France.
Next in question is towering striker Oliver McBurnie. The former Bradford City youth has made an impact for Scotland at U19 and U21 level, and is getting ever closer to the Swansea first team. He scored twice on his EFL Cup debut earlier this season, and more recently won the Premier League 2 player of the month award.
Adam King has recently signed a new three-year contract which will keep him at the Liberty Stadium until the summer of 2019. Originally making a handful of appearances for Edinbugh club Hearts, the Scotland U21 international is thriving in his environment after loan spells at Southend and Crewe, boosting his development and netting five goals.
The final two subjects are Botti Bia-bi and Ryan Blair, both of which moved from the Falkirk side to link up with the development squad at Swansea. Bia-bi impressed at youth club Clydebank, before forcing himself into the first team picture at the Bairns. A six figure fee was involved in his move to Swansea, which is a sign of how much promise the London born striker has shown.
Four of the six have come from the ranks of Falkirk and technical director Alex Smith recently voiced his pride in seeing the young footballers making headway. An exciting future awaits for this batch of players and the Scottish football community will be keeping an eye out for what we all hope will be several international squad members in the years to come.