Ex-Swansea City defender Connor Roberts feels at 'home' playing possession-based football with Burnley
Burnley defender Connor Roberts feels right at home playing a possession-based brand of football.
The Wales international will be reminded of his roots at the weekend as the Clarets welcome his former club Swansea City to Turf Moor.
And it was at his boyhood club, during a lengthy spell at the Liberty Stadium, where the Neath-born right back learned how to protect the ball.
He joined the club's Academy at the age of nine and — having won the Professional U21 Development League 2 title in 2015 — he landed the Under 23 League and Premier League Cup double in 2017.
"It's something that I'm used to coming from Swansea, we've done that for many years, even when I was a spectator, so you didn't really have the fans getting on players' backs because that is what was expected of the club," Roberts said.
"When I was at Swansea, we weren't the best team, but we were happy with our performances pretty much every game. We enjoyed having the ball and knocking it about and I think that's what we need to get to at this club.
"Even when results didn't go your way, when we didn't win, we still felt a sense of enjoyment being out there playing with that freedom to express yourself and get on the ball. We're footballers so the more times you can touch the ball the better."
Following loan spells at Yeovil Town, Bristol Rovers and Middlesbrough, the 27-year-old played under Carlos Carvalhal, now Chelsea boss Graham Potter and Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper while in South Wales.
The trio shared a similar philosophy to Burnley boss Vincent Kompany, who is shifting the ideology of football at Turf Moor. The Clarets have dominated possession and territory in the majority of their Championship outings this term.
"This season it has been a bit more normal to take up the positions that I am doing and to be a bit more patient on the ball," he said. "People aren't used to Burnley having so much of the ball and playing with patience so you will hear a few people wanting it to be quicker. If you have the ball then the other team doesn't have the chance to score.
"It's a shock to everyone; you could hear the fans moaning and groaning a little bit [at the start of the season] because it's unknown to them, especially over the last few years. It's different, but it's something that I'm a little bit more used to, and maybe a few other players, but it's nice to have the ball.
"It's more normal for me to play this way. When I came here last season it was a different way of playing and something that I struggled to adjust to and I did things that perhaps weren't normal for me."