Are Wayne Routledge’s days numbered at Swansea City?
Swansea City’s Wayne Routledge was an unused substitute when his side picked up a point at home to Everton on Saturday. That has been a regular occurrence since Carlos Carvalhal was appointed manager in December.
Routledge made 70% of his possible Premier League appearances before Carvalhal replaced Paul Clement. The 33-year-old has managed just 48 minutes of league football since.
Routledge is entering the last year of his deal. Given the lack of game time, he could be forced to seek greener pastures, ending a seven-year stay at the Liberty Stadium.
Routledge has struggled for minutes this season due to the competition for a starting place. The former Newcastle United man has been an unused substitute on 11 occasions in the Premier League and made just three starts. His last was against Liverpool on December 26.
Andre Ayew, Nathan Dyer, Luciano Narsingh, Jordan Ayew, and Sam Clucas all come before the veteran in the pecking order. Poor goal output sees him continually overlooked. In 13 league appearances, he has zero goals and zero assists.
In all competitions, Routledge has contributed just two goals in 20 games. It’s hard to see why Carvalhal would continue to select him if he isn’t scoring or creating chances. The winger has made just six chances in his 13 matches, with five dribbles and just two shots. Ineffective.
Carvalhal’s tactical shift has made Routledge redundant
Routledge may have thought a change in manager would improve his chances of playing. Instead, Carvalhal’s arrival has all but spelled the end of his time at Swansea. The ex-Sheffield Wednesday boss has opted for wing-backs rather than full-backs and wingers. The ageing Routledge is largely redundant.
Wing-back is a physically demanding role, not the job in which a natural winger in his 30s normally excels. Players are required to support attacks in the final third and defend in their own half when the ball is turned over. Routledge is best known for running at defenders and creating chances, rather than tracking back and nullifying the opposition.
While Carvalhal is in charge, game time will continue to be hard to come by at Swansea. A move this summer might be the best solution.
No playing time in the Premier League and little interest from top-flight sides might force Routledge to drop a division. Birmingham City were one club interested in his services in January although no move materialised.
Routledge joined the Swans from Newcastle in 2011. He has gone on to make 232 appearances in all competitions, making more than 25 league appearances every season with the Welsh outfit until 2017/18. This campaign is the first time he’s not regularly featured, or to score or make an assist.
It looks like his time is coming to an end. The Swans have better options in his preferred position. He’s unlikely to be shoe-horned in at wing-back. If Routledge wants to prolong his career, a move to the Championship this summer could be the answer.