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       Latest Young guns blog by John Jones

    Taylor Curran (Swindon Town) Defender, born 2000
    Swindon signed Taylor from Southend during the January 2019 transfer window and his only involvement with the first team happened for the last match of the season. He started on the bench and was introduced late in the game for his debut. He has been a regular matchday squad member on the bench this season, making a couple of brief appearances in league games. He has started a couple of EFL Trophy matches, giving him valuable experience as he works toward steadily increasing his playing time.

    Jacob Edwards (Swansea City) Midfielder, born 2003
    According to the club website, Jacob joined Swansea from Tranmere Rovers around a year or so ago, something I was not aware of until seeing it mentioned there. Now a first year scholar with the Swans, he has played in about half of the U-18 team games this season. If I am interpreting what I have seen correctly, he is mostly utilized in a wing back role in games but could be used in other midfield roles if necessary. He was a member of last season's Victory Shield squad and has continued his involvement with Wales teams by being a regular selection for the U-17 squad this season.

    Ioan Evans, Midfielder, Callum Jones, Defender, Elis Watts, Midfielder, (Newport County), born 2002
    All of these three young men gained some amount of first team experience when playing for Newport in EFL Trophy games this season, as well as being members of the club's U-18 team that produced some good performances in the FA Youth Cup. Callum and Elis added to this when spending time on loan a couple of months ago. As second year scholars, pending decisions by club management will determine their future path in football. Ioan is scheduled to continue as a scholar next season. It is credit to the good development programme in place at the club for preparing these three for the successes they have enjoyed this season. Differing circumstances would allow me to say something to the effect of long may it continue. With so much uncertainty created by the present situation, one can only hope that such good work will not be too severely impacted. Undoubtedly, financial constraints will have to be implemented. Minimizing the negative effects will probably be the best solution available.

    Daniel Hawkins (Salford City), Forward, born 2001

    Daniel signed with Salford at the start of this season having previously been a scholar at Hull City for two years. Assigned as a member of their U-23 squad, he gained experience of first team football by spending a few weeks on loan at Marine earlier in the season. His response to the challenge presented proved advantageous to all concerned. Not only did he gain praise for the assistance he provided his loan club, he continued to create a favourable impression on his return to his parent club. The goal tally he amassed during the season suggests he created havoc against most opposition defences, accumulating over twenty in total, a feat considered more remarkable when considering he generally operates out wide rather than in a central striker role.

    Patrick Jones and Robson Shipley (Huddersfield Town) Forwards, born 2003
    Both of these youngsters were members of the Wales U-17 squad, which earlier in the season, successfully progressed when competing in the preliminary round of the annual UEFA competition. At that time, Patrick had recently agreed to join Huddersfield but had to wait until the January transfer window for it to be officially sanctioned. He was therefore only allowed to play for their youth teams after that time, but it was still sufficient for him to convince the club coaching staff that he was an excellent addition to their squad. I have listed him as a forward though a better description is perhaps a very pacy winger, who also contributes by scoring in games. Robson is also a recent recruit at Huddersfield, having been affiliated with both Newcastle and then Middlesborough as a schoolboy. He also has a good goal scoring record and operates primarily in a central striking role but can contribute effectively as a wide player when the occasion requires him to do so.

    Christian Norton (Southampton) Forward, born 2001
    Christian is in his first year as a member of the U-23 squad at Southampton after the completion of a successful time as a scholar with them. He has played for the team regularly, compiling an appearance record of well over half the games played. I did see information that he played in at least one game as a trialist for the Crystal Palace U-23 team in February but cannot add more to it. A speculative comment is that perhaps Southampton are willing to allow him to move to a new club. He was a new recruit to Wales teams when selected to become part of the Wales U-19 squad last season and continued playing for the team this season.

    Joe Porton (Bristol City) Midfielder, born 2003
    Joe is in his first season as a scholar with City and has been playing for their U-18 team. I cannot be definitive about his appearance record as I could only locate team lineups for some of the games played. My first knowledge of him being eligible to represent Wales occurred when seeing his name announced in an U-16 squad at the end of last season. It was organized to play a couple of games as preparation for games that would be played by the U-17 team this season. Joe must have impressed as he has been a regular selection for the U-17's this season, helping the team produce good results. He would also have been in the squad contesting the elite qualification tournament had there not been a need for it to be cancelled.

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    page originally posted: Sat, 16 May 20 refresh for updates

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