From making his first-team bow against Northampton Town in 2019, few would have expected Ben Cabango’s meteoric rise with the Cardiff born defenders talent a well-kept secret amongst academy staff.
Following Swansea head coach Russell Martin’s arrival six days prior to the start of the season, silky passing football has been reintroduced in SA1 with the majority of the Jack Army fully behind Martin’s unique methods, recent results against West Brom and Coventry City have certainly helped matters.
Despite the Swans’ 12 Championship clean sheets so far this term, defensive vulnerability has been evident away from home in particular with 30 goals conceded on their travels.
With injuries, suspensions and shallow squad-depth hindering the Swans’ quest for defensive consistency, Martin has finally identified his best performing back three with Cabango’s influence growing upon each performance.
Bravery, courage and intensity. Three words which are often used by Swansea’s head coach and are the area’s which most underlines the 21-year-old’s improvement.
With there being a sizeable expectation for the Swans to play out from the back, there’s no place to hide for Swansea’s defenders. Cabango’s composure, intensity and bravery to brake lines with his passing has been evident in recent weeks.
The physically gifted defender has made massive strides during the second half of his current 28 outings while improvement is underlined through his individual statistics.
In his opening 14 Championship games, Cabango averaged 61.5 passes per 90, 70.6 touches and a passing accuracy of 83.6% (WhoScored).
It now looks like all the time on the training pitch and in the analytical suite has paid off, with Cabango now averaging 64.7 passes, 80 touches with a slightly improved accuracy of 83.8%.
Cabango’s improvement in his defensive numbers are surprisingly more significant.
From averaging 0.85 tackles, 1 interception and 1.42 clearances per game during his opening 14 matches, the Welshman’s numbers have now increased to 1.57 tackles, 1.42 interceptions while now averaging 4.2 clearances respectively.
With the Swans being heavily reliant on the club’s academy prospects flourishing on the main-stage, Cabango is certainly the latest talent who could provide the Swans with a significant financial windfall in the future.
Despite missing out on featuring for his country due to personal reasons in November, there are few Welsh defenders who are in better form currently.
If the youngster lands his deserved international opportunity should Wales qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Cabango is certainly one to keep an eye out for in the near future if he continues to improve in this vertical trajectory.