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    Young Guns update


    Young Guns by John Jones.

    Nathan Broadhead (Everton)
    Nathan is a player I have been hoping to have something to write about for quite a number of weeks and so to see him named in the U-19 squad has given me that chance. He is one who has progressed through the various Welsh team age groups starting at the schoolboy level. I was informed by one who watched him play for the Wales schoolboy team, a good judge of talent, that he was one of the 2 or 3 prominent performers in that team. He moved on from that to sign scholar terms at the club and was soon a part of their U-18 team, becoming an almost constant member in the 2 seasons of eligibility culminating at the end of the last one. Moving on to become a fulltime player, he was involved with the U-23 team during many of its preseason games, as he had been on occasion toward the end of last season, but since that time I have not seen any mention of him. My guess was that an injury was the reason, although I could not confirm that it was so and in some ways it was something of a surprise to see him named in the squad. It is some days before the squad assembles at the time of writing and he may have to withdraw but I have seen no mention of such up to this point. Everton does have quite a large pool of talented players vying for a limited number of spots, making it very tough competition, but I would have expected him to appear, even if only on occasion, unless he has suffered some setback in the way his progression was occurring previously.

    Jack Hendry (Wigan Athletic -on loan with MK Dons)
    I am making quite an assumption here that this is the same Jack Hendry that was named in a Wales schoolboy training squad a few years back. I cannot find any information to corroborate that this is the same person but I suspect that it is so. The Jack Hendry that I am referring to was affiliated with Celtic at that time and as I found that Glasgow is listed as his birthplace, that would seem a reasonable fit and although I am not completely sure, the age is also a fit. Jack was signed by Wigan in the early part of last season, from Partick Thistle where he had spent at least one season. He was on loan at Shrewsbury for the last few weeks of the season making a handful of appearances and is at present on loan at the Dons and playing in their first team. Although one would assume that Scotland would be the choice if such an option existed, he is maybe one to watch if the Welsh link is correct.

    Owain Jones (Swansea City)
    Owain progressed through school time, as a scholar and now in his second year as a fulltime professional with Swansea is playing quite regularly for their U-23 side. Although he probably cannot be described as a prolific scorer, he does contribute with, at the very least, the amount of goals that is generally expected from the wide forward role he normally occupies. It can also be added that a good many of his successes are important in the context of the game that he is participating in. I noticed some amount of jubilation by Welsh supporters at the inclusion of his fellow countryman Daniel James in the latest Swansea matchday squad and it was rightfully so. There is a very distinct lack of Welsh qualified players getting any game time in the 3 national club teams when considering that their feeder teams are overwhelmingly otherwise. The arguments are almost endless and widely varied in any discussion of the pros and cons of such disparity (not just limited to Welsh clubs and players), but I do think the onus is eventually on the player to perform at a level that warrants inclusion in the team. Certainly, that is a digression on my part, but one that maybe has at least have some slight relevance in the comments I put forward each week. Maybe, Owain or some of his contemporaries can be successful at first team level if somehow given an opportunity.

    Dominic Smith (Shrewsbury Town)
    Dominic was recalled from a loan period at Barrow and immediately inserted in a starting role by the new management team at Shrewsbury last week. I had been slightly puzzled by the loan as Dominic had seemed to be gaining some amount of foothold on a first team squad place over second half of last season. We shall have to watch and see if he can renew this trend over the months ahead. Having witnessed him first hand, I can offer an opinion that is maybe more relevant than done on many. It is however a very small one game sample and at best can only be generalized. Undoubtedly, he has pace aplenty, a very good quality to possess in every role, especially his defensive one when recovery is needed and along with his strong stature, positives in the tools of his trade necessary for further improvement. I would suggest that positioning and reading of the game are parts that need further refinement in order to pit his skills against those that regularly perform in the upper tier of the league system. It is still an excellent situation that he seems to be given more chance at his club as this is where he will gather the best experience at this time.

    Jordan Williams (Liverpool)
    It was a very good discovery to find Jordanís name in the Liverpool U-23 line-up last Friday when he came on as a second half substitute in their game against Manchester City. According to the reporter, his introduction was contributory to an improved second half display by the team. Many of you will have read the good Liverpool Echo article and so I will not reiterate that part. I mentioned a few weeks ago about Jordanís return to the Liverpool U-23 squad this season and had watched with interest as he seemed to be making steps toward where he had been a couple of seasons ago. Then, his name was missing and I could not find reference as to why and made a couple of unsuccessful enquiries. Apparently, it was a groin strain that derailed him for a few weeks and hopefully there will be no more hiccups for him over the next few months. I think that Jordan and a few others could be extremely important in determining if the Wales senior side can continue to be in a generally successful mode over the next number of seasons. His preference is to operate in midfield, but is also very adept in a central defensive position which is a bonus and if he can get back to being on the fringe of the Liverpool first team squad and even build on that, he will surely start being one of those names that are automatically assumed to be in the squad when fit. More good news was that he played another full game for the U-23 side in mid-week.¬†

    Posted: Friday 11th November 2016
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