Swansea City v Liverpool FC: Jack Cork pays tribute to Brendan Rodgers, saying ‘I owe my career to him’


Jack Cork has revealed how Brendan Rodgers told him he’d be bossing it at the top 10 YEARS ago – and the Swansea City midfielder insists it’s no shock to see his former mentor prove as good as his word.

Cork was Rodgers’ youth and reserve-team skipper while the Northern Irishman was learning the ropes under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.

And the 25-year-old revealed how Rodgers would tell his young hopefuls they were being groomed for the high-life by a manager ready to take his place among the elite in the near future.

Rodgers took in spells at Watford and Reading before showing his class at Swansea, his promotion-winning exploits and impressive Premier League breakthrough in South Wales paving the way for his move to Merseyside where he has re-ignited Anfield ambition.
Formative years at Stamford Bridge

And former Southampton star Cork admits he’d not be in position to take on his old gaffer when he brings Liverpool to the Liberty if it wasn’t for Rodgers’ sound advice in his formative years at Stamford Bridge, claiming he owes his career to the former Swansea favourite.

But that won’t stop Cork aiming to upset Rodgers as he looks to follow up the last Liberty outing that provided a historic win over Liverpool’s north-west rivals Manchester United, having already put one over his old boss while with the Saints.

Still, Cork – an eye-catching £3m January capture from St Mary’s – knows the man they have to overcome in the opposition dug-out is one of steely intent and stylish principles that have long seen him destined to become one of the best in the business, as well as putting Cork on the road to success with Swansea.
Brendan Rodgers’ Swansea City years

“He was a massive influence on me,” said Cork of Rodgers, whose reputation as a forward-thinking coach was first noted at Chelsea after joining as youth chief in 2004 where Cork started out as a teen.

“He was my first professional coach at the main stage of my career in terms of developing at 16,” said Cork.

“Brendan was my youth-team manager and when I moved up he moved up to reserve team manager, so a lot of my early development was with him.

“He always used to say he wanted to go to the top, even then he was very self-assured and he used to make us feel even then we were working with a top coach.

“He believed he was going to work at the top level and to trust him and what he said… and it’s worked out as he said.

“And he knows the game he wants to play, he’s confident in what he wants to do and if you feel that from the manager then it seeps down to the players.
‘Confidence in philosophies’

“It’s similar to what the gaffer here does. You get the feeling from him about what he believes in and the confidence in those philosophies pass down to the players.

“He’s a great manager who’s done well most of the places he’s been, especially Liverpool where he’s turned them around. I owe him a lot because without him I don’t think I’d be playing at this level.”

Cork was one of Rodgers’ first transfer targets after arriving at Swansea in 2010, determined to link-up with the midfielder who is capable of being as destructive as he is creative and who has added a real balance of bite and comfort to the central areas of Garry Monk’s side.

It was of little surprise given one of Rodgers’ first moves after leaving Chelsea for Watford in 2008 was to take Cork to Vicarage Road on loan, yet he was foiled in attempts to lure him to the

Instead, it was Monk who managed to persuade Cork to head over the Severn, jumping at the opportunity after he snubbed the chance of a new deal at Southampton having already made moves over the summer to snap him up.

Cork is already showing why the move made sense on both sides and he admits to enjoying Liberty life under the rookie boss who he says has been obviously influenced by a manager he credits as being a major one on his playing career.

“The gaffer (Monk) has been great with me since I came in and you can tell he’s worked with Brendan,” said the former England Under-21 and Team GB man. “And having worked underneath people like Michael Laudrup you can tell he’s studied for this side of the game, and you can tell from the style of football – very well-organised, attractive football – that he’s learned from people like Brendan.