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On-loan full-back Curtis Obeng chasing Premier League dream
CURTIS Obeng has declared himself happy to be playing for York City despite being told he would get his chance in the Premier League this season.
The on-loan right-back, who made his York debut during Saturday’s 4-1 home defeat to Morecambe, was all poised to play a part in Swansea City’s second top-flight campaign last summer before manager Brendan Rodgers left for Liverpool and was replaced by Michael Laudrup.
Signed for the Swans by Rogers during the 2012 January transfer window in a £200,000 switch from Wrexham, Obeng is yet to make a first-team appearance after a year at the Liberty Stadium, where highly-rated Spaniard Angel Rangel is a mainstay in his position.
But the former England under-19 international, capped by his country four times at that level, still has two-and-a-half years to run on his Swans contract and, after a two-month spell with City’s League Two rivals Fleetwood at the end of last year, is looking forward to his Bootham Crescent challenge.
“It’s been tough at Swansea,” Obeng said of his inactivity in South Wales. “Brendan Rodgers signed me and we sat down towards the end of last season and he told me his plans.
“I was in them but things happen in football. Managers come and go sometimes and, when you get knockbacks, you have to pick yourself up and go again.
“Going to Swansea was a dream move for me in the first place. I was at Wrexham so I can’t complain about playing League football now.
“I didn’t have that chance previously so I’m just relishing every chance I get. Michael Laudrup has obviously got his own plans and players of preference. He’s told me I could be playing but could not guarantee when that would be.
“He said that if I wanted to go out on loan to get fit and match practice that would be fine so that’s what I’m doing.”
As a former FA Youth Cup finalist with Manchester City in 2006, Obeng is also familiar with the difficulties of earning a first-team chance at football’s top table.
Obeng was awarded a professional deal with the Manchester giants but dropped into non-League football with Wrexham when it came to an end two years later.
Among his team-mates in that Youth Cup final, which City lost 3-2 to Liverpool on aggregate, was current England and now Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge.
Many others, though, have fallen by the wayside and a philosophical Obeng added: “I was in the same age group as Daniel Sturridge and others have gone on to good things like Adam Clayton at Huddersfield.
“But I know a few good players who are not in the game now. I’ve seen some players progress and others fall back so I know what a tough business this is and I’m just happy to be playing in the League.”
Depsite his lack of action at the Liberty Stadium, Obeng also feels that working under Rodgers and Laudrup, while rubbing shoulders with the likes of Michu on the training ground, has been of enormous benefit. He said: “The levels are very good at Swansea and everything is there facility-wise to improve you as a player and a person.
“The only thing that has been missing is games and that’s why I’ve come to York. Premier League reserve games are totally different.
“League football is fast, furious and tough. If I can adapt to that side of the game, then I have a lot more weapons in my armoury. I’m here to do my best for the team.”