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YOUNG GUNS BLOG UPDATE


Young Guns Blog by John Jones.

Rhys Davies (Leicester City)
Signed from Newport County shortly after the start of last season, Rhys became part of the Leicester U-18 squad playing in about one third of their games and on the bench for many of their other ones whilst completing his eligibility in youth football. Now a member of the U-23 squad at the club, he has been on the bench for many of that team’s matches and made his development team debut when needing to enter the game as a substitute in a recent Checkatrade Trophy game. The Foxes have a deep roster of goalkeeping talent, putting plenty of pressure on Rhys to keep himself in a competitive mode for selection. Continuing to add improvements to his game is what I am sure he is intent on doing, the reward being a good career in football with that correct sort of application.

Owen Evans (Wigan Athletic)
Now in his fifth season at Wigan, Owen’s only first team appearance occurred when he played in a Carabao Cup match last season, but he has had numerous additional senior club duty occasions on the bench. He has also had some loan assignments, his time for a half season at Rhyl impressing quite a few observers of the Welsh Premier League. Over the last 2 seasons, he has been a constant selection for the Wales U-21 squad as they competed in the UEFA U-21 qualification games. He gained his first Wales U-21 cap when starting the final group game a couple of months ago with his time in that category coming to an end. The national U-21 selection process will now focus on those who qualify for eligibility in the 2019/21 series of matches.

Luke Pilling (Tranmere Rovers – on loan at Ashton United)
Luke has been at Tranmere for quite a few seasons, representing Wales throughout that time. He has been capped at all age group levels from schoolboy through to the U-21’s, which he played for both last and this season. Some of his most eye catching moments in a Wales shirt came during the 2017 Toulon tournament when what was categorized as an U-20 Wales team put on some highly praised performances, aided by some very good goalkeeping displays from Luke. He has had a couple of first team appearances as well as other instances on the bench for Tranmere during their time in the National League. The club managed a return to the Football League by gaining promotion last season and decided to try and improve their squad for League 2 competition with loan arrangements. One of the options they sought and acquired was a goalkeeper. This has in turn allowed Luke to be loaned out to Ashton United, the team he assisted in similar fashion last season, signifying that they are pleased to have his services available to help them. Luke has certainly contributed to the cause with plenty of good displays for various Wales teams over the years as he works hard to find a means of continual improvement in his stopper capacity. He will hope to eventually work his way into senior team consideration and have a complete set of caps if one is gained in the future.

Lewis Thomas (Forest Green Rovers – on loan at Yate Town)
After many seasons at Swansea there was no renewal of a contract offer for Lewis at the end of last season. His time without being affiliated to a club was however a short one as Forest Green quickly offered him terms to join their staff. The village team, as they are referred to, had a successful debut in their inaugural season in League 2 and seem on a path to remain in the Football League beyond this season as well. Building up their squad depth with signings such as they made with Lewis is the process they have determined will give them the best opportunity to remain competitive. At present, Lewis is on loan at Yate Town and must be having success. The team have had plenty of positive results so far this season, their position amongst the leaders in their league an indication that both the team and Lewis individually must be playing reasonably well. Over the years, Lewis has gained a good amount of international football experience assisting Wales teams at schoolboy, U-17 and U-19 level. He was also a squad member for the U-20 team in Toulon, but the confidence of the selectors in Luke and Owen prevented any association with U-21 team play.

Matthew Turner (Leeds United)
As soon as Matthew reached his 16th birthday in March of this year, Leeds promptly offered him a scholar contract and were successful in gaining his signature. Prior to that time he was a member of the Pontardawe youth squad and so is an example of how valuable grass roots football teams are in assisting the development of young Welsh talent. Matthew has been part of the Leeds youth squad since the summer and has made one appearance for the U-18 team. Last season he was called up for the Wales U-17 team, on the bench for one match as a replacement for Scott Reed who was unavailable through injury. He will I am sure be anxious to add further appearances for the Leeds U-18’s as he continues his time as a scholar for the remainder of this and also next season. Good performances for the team would greatly enhance the chance of more callups for a Welsh national squad, another achievement that would be pleasing for him.

Cian Tyler (Coventry City)

Capped by Wales as a schoolboy last season and at U-17 level this season, Cian is one of the group of young goalkeepers that we Wales fans will be keenly following with the hope of a development path that will lead to a candidacy for a national senior team selection at some point in the future. Now in his first year of a scholar tenure with the Sky Blues, he has been constantly involved with the U-18 team during the last few months, making appearances, but mostly on the bench from the best information I can ascertain. Of course, he is just at the start of his career in full time football and still getting acclimatized to it all. He is undoubtedly working hard on adding even more to the good skills he already possesses and will see his game time escalate as a reward for that effort. Coventry have previously helped in the development of one Cian who seems to be getting ever closer to being considered for the Wales senior squad, maybe in time we will be giving them credit for another similar incidence.




[photo embedded from Twitter
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Posted: Wednesday 12th December 2018
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