Thursday, 13 November 2014

Modou Barrow: Who is he?

He's an extra-ordinary talent that took the Liberty crowd by storm on Sunday, but who is Modou Barrow? Josh Kilmister takes a look...

Modou Barrow was born in Gambia in October 1992 and spent his formative years there before moving to Sweeden aged eleven. There he joined up with the youth system at Östers IF, before earning his first senior appearances with Mjölby AI. After spells at various Sweedish clubs, Barrow made a permanent move to Sweedish second tier side Östersunds FK.

It was whilst at Östersunds that Barrow - standing at just over 5'9" - was scouted by The Swans. After spending time on trial at Bolton being linked with Celtic, Barrow excited Swans fans sending out this tweet mid-August regarding his proposed move to South Wales:

It wasn't long before Barrow was announced as a Swansea City player, and on a busy transfer deadline day for the Gambian forward he appeared and scored in a game for the Under-21 side in a 3-2 win over Birmingham. In a pre-season interview Garry Monk claimed that he knew little about Barrow, but it didn't take him long to recognise his talent, calling him up to train with the first team in September.

Despite his presence in the first-team squad Barrow continued to show that he was worthy of his £1.5 million pound price tag by impressing for Chris Llewelyn's Under-21 side. On the bench for cup games against Everton and Liverpool and away at Stoke in the league, injuries to Nathan Dyer & Wayne Routledge meant Barrow got his chance off the bench against Arsenal. Replacing Marvin Emnes whilst a goal down, Barrow set the Liberty alight with his confidence and energy, drawing the foul that led to Gylfi Sigurdsson's equalising free-kick. The rest is history.

It's refreshing to know that as well as bringing in quality at a first-team level we have a burgeoning youth system which should, in theory, produce youngsters for years to come. Barrow isn't the only young Swan to make his mark in the first team either - Josh Sheehan and Alex Bray both featured heavily in pre-season, whilst Jay Fulton seems closer to breaking into the first-team than most. Also, I couldn't write a piece on our youngsters without mentioning winger Kenji Gorre, who I'm certain will break into the first team at some point this season. I'm a big fan, and he's consistently scored goals for our U21's so surely he'll get his chance soon.

I've only been to one Under-21 game so far this season, (a 2-1 loss to Cardiff at the Liberty) but it was easy to see that most, if not all of the players that featured have bright futures ahead of them. Unbeaten in seven games and coming off a 4-1 victory over Brentford last night (in which a certain Jonjo Shelvey featured and scored in), I'd definitely encourage fans to get behind Chris Llewelyn's side. After all, entry is free of charge most of the time! 

Thanks to Josh for taking the time to put this together. I echo his sentiments about the U21 team - it's great fun and always interesting to see the potential stars of the future on display.