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    Young Guns Blog by John Jones.

    Michael Ellery (Sheffield Wednesday)
    Michael represented Wales at both schoolboy and U-17 international level during his association with Everton. He has now moved on to Sheffield Wednesday and began his two-year scholar tenure with them at the start of this season. He played a couple of times for the Owlís U-18 team toward the end of last season and has been a regular in all the teamís games so far this time around. The Hillsborough youngsters have made an impressive start to the season and are unbeaten as they lead their division by a comfortable margin in the second tier of the development league for youth players. Five wins and a draw suggest them having quite a dominance over their opponents thus far, this further confirmed by the concession of only a solitary goal in the 6 games. Michael has been a part of this strong defensive unit that has helped build a platform for the team when trying to overcome the opposition. Two goals were conceded in their latest game, the second being in added time to secure a draw for the opposition. The unbeaten run remains intact.

    Daniel Griffiths (Cardiff City)
    Dan joined Liverpool as a scholar at the beginning of last season but after some amount of injury issues restricted him featuring on only very few occasions for their U-18 team, he was allowed to move on. A trial period for the final few games of the season at Cardiff was a success and consequently the club offered him a place in their scholar ranks. This season, he has been a regular member of the U-18 team and has contributed with some goals that have helped create a very positive start with wins in most of their early fixtures. Dan will certainly be keen to build further on the achievements of late as he looks to try and secure a professional contract when his time as a youth player ends.

    Daniel Hawkins (Hull City)
    In his second season as a youth team player with Hull, Daniel has continued in the fashion he displayed last term as a regular member of their U-18 side. He certainly settled in well after his move to join the east coast of England side after his time as a schoolboy when he was affiliated with Swansea. His development through the season was recognized by the coaching staff at the club and an appreciation of it was confirmed with an involvement with the clubís U-23 games as it drew to an end. It would be expected for Daniel to get further exposure to the demands of U-23 team games as this season progresses, there will be a need for the evaluation of players being offered contracts, in Danielís case, it will be a determination to offer him a professional contract and if so, move on to a next step in his development.

    Rhys Hughes (Everton)
    A September birthday date prevented Rhys from being eligible to join the Everton youth set up on a full-time basis until the start of this season. He did have a couple of appearances on the bench for the U-18 team last season but did not accumulate any playing time for them. It is a different matter this time around as he has started in their first 5 league matches and was on the bench for their latest game. The team has a perfect record for the 6 games and Rhys is one of a group of first year scholars, heavily utilized in these matches. The coaching staff have been complimentary in their evaluation of each of them and praised their contributions in the teamís successful start to the season. Over the decades, Everton have nurtured a deserved reputation of praiseworthy youth development, in that time having many very good teams that eventually provided the first team with numerous exceptional players. It could be that the present group are showing signs of following in the footsteps of their predecessors.

    Callum and Sam Pearson (Bristol City)
    Though only a first-year scholar, Sam is already accumulating a large amount of time representing the clubís U-23 side. Quite an achievement for a young player and obviously a testament of his skills and temperament for the coaches to have confidence in his ability to perform against considerably older opponents on occasion. The experience gained will be an important asset in his development path and a continuation at such a pace will see expectation of his elevation into the ranks of first team contention candidates. It is a very big step for any player from development to first team football and cannot be achieved without a dedicated effort to improve abilities to reach that level. Sam cannot have gained the opportunities he has been given without expending his maximum energy and concentration in doing so and is to be congratulated for it. Twin brother Callum, though not quite matching Sam, is nevertheless also progressing in a manner that is also very worthy of much praise, his latest achievement that of being named on the bench for the U-23ís. I am sure that they are both very proud of each otherís success as well as their own and as both have represented Wales at U-17 level, we hope that a future Wales senior team will feature twin brothers in the line-up.

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    Posted: Wednesday 26th September 2018
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