Leon Britton backed as next Swansea City manager by John Hartson

Leon Britton took over as Swansea caretaker-manager for two games in December 2017 following the dismissal of Paul Clement
Leon Britton took over as Swansea City caretaker-manager for two games in December 2017 following the dismissal of Paul Clement

Swansea should "build the club" around Leon Britton and appoint the former midfielder as their next manager, says ex-Wales striker John Hartson.

Carlos Carvalhal is not expected to be given a new contract after failing to keep the Swans in the Premier League.

Ostersund manager Graham Potter and Swansea's under-23 boss Cameron Toshack have been linked with the role.

But Hartson said 35-year-old Britton, who retired from playing at the end of the season, would be "exceptional".

He added: "Nobody knows how Swansea tick as a club inside and out, in the dressing room and around the place than Leon Britton.

"I would build the club around his knowledge and personality."

Britton made 536 appearances for the Swans after initially joining from West Ham United in 2002 on a one-month loan.

In two spells with the club over more than 15 years, he helped the Welsh side avoid relegation from the Football League and then win three promotions.

He was named caretaker manager for a two-game spell before Carvalhal's appointment in December.

Swansea previously offered the Englishman the chance to take up another coaching role, but he has instead opted to become a club ambassador.

'They've lost that identity'

Hartson, who won 51 Wales caps and scored 14 international goals, told BBC Sport Wales: "People talk about the 'Swansea Way' and what they mean by that is the system they played for several years.

"[Former manager] Brendan Rodgers played it ever so well - play with wingers, width, genuinely good footballers in the middle of the park, a major threat up front.

"You play out from the back, everyone wants the ball, everybody is comfortable on the ball, making angles.

"It's brave, possession football. Work the opposition tirelessly and you keep possession.

"They've lost that identity, the way they play - and the best person who was in and around that Swansea Way for many years and excelled in that position as a leader, as a midfielder who knew how to organise the game and would run the game from the middle of the park, is Leon Britton."

Hartson says the fact Britton is "revered" by supporters would help the relegated club's situation and that being out of the higher stakes of the Premier League could allow them to take a chance on a rookie.

"He would be exceptional," he added.

"Put someone alongside him with experience because he would need help, but I believe Leon Britton would be a fantastic choice and the fans' choice."

John Hartson (background) was part of the Wales backroom staff under ex-manager Chris Coleman
John Hartson (background) was part of the Wales backroom staff under ex-manager Chris Coleman

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