Nathan Dyer hopes to come through another tough examination with flying colours when he faces the man he feels is among the best the Premier League has to offer.
Dyer could find himself going against England international Leighton Baines for the first time when the Swans host Everton on Saturday.
Baines has formed a strong partnership down Everton’s left flank along with Steven Pienaar.
And Dyer, who missed both matches against Everton last season due to injury and then suspension, is relishing the opportunity of testing himself against one of the leading left-backs in the top flight.
“Baines is one of the best left-backs in the Premier League,” said Dyer. “I always like to play against established, experienced players because I can learns things from facing them and add that to my game.
“It’s a learning process and you can definitely take a lot from testing yourself against players like him.
“He has a good understanding with Pienaar – they work well down the left. But myself and Angel (Rangel) have developed a really good understanding too, so it will be an interesting battle if we are selected.”
Selection on the wings is even more interesting for manager Michael Laudrup following the club record transfer of Pablo Hernandez.
The Spanish international made his debut off the bench in last weekend’s defeat at Aston Villa, and is pushing for a starting role – and first appearance at the Liberty – when Everton arrive in SA1.
But Dyer has welcomed the added competition for places, insisting it will help the club in their pursuit of becoming an established Premier League club.
“There’s a lot of healthy competition,” Dyer added. “Pablo has come in and settled very well and he obviously wants to play from the start.
“He’s not just the kind of winger that just wants to take his man on - he is keen to come inside and link up with us and I think he will be a quality player for us.
“It’s reassuring, though, when you hear the manager say it doesn’t matter how much you pay for a player - they have to earn their place.
“It’s good to know everyone has to really work for their place, and that goes throughout the team.
“It keeps pushing us on and raising performance levels, and that is great for the manager and the club.”
See the full interview with Nathan now on Swans Player.
Not a member? Sign up HERE