Wigan boss Roberto Martinez today confirmed what Wales Under-21 chief Bryan Flynn has long maintained – that Canary new-boy Owain Tudur Jones will captain Wales.
At the time, it was a big claim by Flynn. The then Swans starlet was still only 20-years-old as he began to force his way into the international limelight.
But four years on and the man who nurtured Tudur Jones back to fitness at The Liberty Stadium for two, long years stands by Flynn's claim. Tudur Jones is a natural leader of men, says ex-Swans boss Martinez.
“What are his strengths?” said the Latics chief, speaking exclusively to MyFootballWriter hard on the heels of this weekend's 3-2 defeat at Carrow Road.
“First and foremost it's his mentality,” he explained, as the six-foot four inch, 24-year-old looks to bag himself a starting place in Bryan Gunn's League One plans.
The fact that he played the opening 60 minutes against his former manager and mentor suggests that the re-born midfielder may well figure large come Saturday's curtain-raiser against the Us.
Time, therefore, to find out a little more about what makes the relative stranger in everyone's Norfolk mix tick.
“You don't get many leaders nowadays – in the modern game, it's very hard to find captains and leaders.
“And Owain has got that. He's got such a responsibility in his play – and he always gives you that mentality on the pitch. He's another manager on the pitch, so that's the first attribute.”
Given that City boss Gunn set his stall out right from the very start of the summer to slam 'leaders of men' into his squad following the debacle that was The Valley on the final day of the season, why Tudur Jones ticked his boxes is not hard to fathom.
Not that leadership is the only string to the 24-year-old's bow.
“As a player he's someone that with his size, he always dictates the play; he's good in the air; he's very, very athletic; he gets around the pitch really well.
“Defensively he gets the ball back really quickly; he can distribute and he's got a great vision of the game to keep the attacking possession ticking – so, in that respect, I would say that he's a very complete midfielder – someone who is going to take his game to the next level at Norwich,” added the Spaniard, whose masterful League One promotion campaign while at The Liberty was even cited by Gunn afterwards as a potential model for the Canaries to follow.
Tudur Jones was, of course, sidelined for much of that Swans success. For all the big things expected of him, a serious knee injury limited the one-time Bangor City youth to just 46 appearances in his four-years under first Kenny Jackett and then Martinez – followed all-too briefly this summer by Martinez' successor, Paulo Sousa.
With Martinez off to the JJB and his fitness proved with that loan spell at The County Ground, Swindon and his return to the Welsh international fold, so all concerned agreed that this summer was the time for Tudur Jones to try pastures new – on the very far side of the Severn Bridge.
“Injuries happen in the game,” said Martinez.
“That's not a problem. But what it has done has made him become a stronger person; he's a stronger footballer now for the injury – physically and mentally. And that's been a positive for him.
“Obviously you don't want to get injured, but its just how you react towards that. And Owain had to go through many difficult times; many training sessions on his own and now he's getting the benefits. You don't want to miss out on football, but once he's out on the pitch now he's stronger mentally and physically and his career his going to be prolonged.
“He obviously doesn't want to go through that period again,” added Martinez, with Tudur Jones' three years on the sidelines including trips to the United States to come under the knife of the world renowned knee surgeon Richard Steadman. “But now it's been a positive experience for him.”
And as for that Flynn quote; that Tudur Jones would go on to lead John Toshack's Wales side… does Martinez stand by that claim?
“He will – he will,” said Martinez, without either pause or hestitation.
“Because, as I say, he has that mentality.
“He's always been a captain. He's one of them that doesn't need to wear the armband to take responsibility and be a positive influence around the place and on the pitch.
“So he'll carry on doing that – and he'll always be a captain. With or without the armband.”