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    Young Guns update


    Young Guns by John Jones.
    Brandon Cooper (Swansea City)
    A member of the Wales schoolboy team that successfully defended their title in the  2015/16 season, the prior year group had been the victorious team in 2014/15 and although there had been a few joint winner successes in the meantime, it in fact culminated a wait that was longer than the one the senior team had endured for major tournament appearances. It was in 1948/49 that Wales had previously been celebrated as the Victory Shield winners. Brandon joined the scholars group at the club in the summer of 2016, starting his career as a full-time footballer. On his 17th birthday in January, Swansea offered him a professional contract which he duly accepted and signed. He was also recently featured as a potential future star in a national football magazine an indication that not only do Swansea regard him highly but that there also some sentiment in agreement on a national level. Of course, that accolade is by no means a guarantee that it is a foregone conclusion for Brandon to achieve stardom. It does however place him in somewhat elite company as such articles tend to try and identify those most likely to succeed. Seemingly, he certainly has the potential and if he can apply himself in a manner of continual improvement then the prediction could well be fulfilled. He has apparently had an ambition for quite some time to be a Swansea first team player, not in itself all that unusual, but now he has negotiated the first steps toward a possible fulfillment, he has separated himself from almost all who have had such childhood dreams. At this time, his main emphasis is representing the Swansea youth team but he did have an introduction to U-23 football recently which does seem to bode well. Hopefully he will be able to negotiate these hurdles on the way to first team football in fairly rapid fashion, making fans of both Swansea and Wales very pleased if he does achieve the goal he has set for himself.

    Cameron Coxe, Connor Young and James Waite (Cardiff City)
    Between now and the end of the season will come an increasing amount of news about clubs deciding which players that they wish to remain a part of their staff for next season. Part of this process will be one that elevates scholars to full professional status. The management at Cardiff have already offered terms for these 3 young men to make that step up in the last few days and so will then become members of the development squad. Cameron has progressed as a Wales schoolboy, Wales U-17 and then earlier this season a Wales U-19 international, with an amount of praise received as a regular starter in those teams. For such as myself interested in monitoring young players, he has been one fairly easy to follow and would seem to be on his way toward forging a decent career over the next few years. Connor has been under the radar as it were, in those terms used to describe Cameron. Undoubtedly a good player in order to have been selected to continue his footballing education, he is the son of former Cardiff City defensive stalwart Scott Young and if he can emulate or better his fathers resume, Cardiff and ultimately Wales fans could well be vociferously cheering his future contributions. I have to admit that I have been unable to determine if James is eligible for Wales, he has been at Cardiff for some time and so there is a possibility of it being so. He has been producing good performances for the U-23 team lately and so it would be good to add him to the list of young guns to watch out for in the months and years ahead if he has the possibility of wearing the national shirt that bears the red dragon. Congratulations to all three for having reached what is the pinnacle of their fledgling careers thus far, I am sure that they are well aware that tougher challenges lie ahead and hopefully they have the resolve to work diligently and become first team players as time progresses.

    Kieran Parselle (Newport County)
    At the start of the season, Kieran was allowed to move on a loan deal into non-league football. Though obviously this is a supposition on my part, this was a possible indication that he was surplus to requirements and maybe even a permanent move from the club would eventually follow. It was therefore with some surprise that I noticed him being part of the match-day first team squad this past weekend. It has been quite a tumultuous season so far at Rodney Parade and as officials have been desperately trying to find a means to avoiding the end of their tenure in the EFL, the inevitable managerial changes have been instigated. This was then assumed to have made Kierans task of returning to the first team squad an even more difficult outcome to achieve. He does warrant recognition for having impressed management enough for this to have happened. With the onus on a reliance on experienced hands to try and secure enough points to remain in League 2 football next season, the younger players in the squad remained on the bench, but also does show that there is faith in them being able to contribute should they be required. I have no quarrel with such a selection process, particularly so if it ends up being a successful ploy as I hope that Newport can somehow escape relegation. What the future holds for Kieran, we shall have to wait and see.

    George Thomas (Coventry City)
    George has been a starting member of the Coventry team for the last few games giving him valuable experience of the standard needed to be maintained for first team inclusion. I have made mention of his and the teams situation a few times already and in terms of how the team has been doing little has changed over that time. He is a striker who, as it is with the team generally, is finding goals hard to come by, but must be making a good contribution to team play to retain his place in the side. The beleaguered Sky Blues fans do have some consolation as the team has progressed to the final of the Checkatrade Trophy and so a visit to Wembley beckons them in a few weeks. George was a scorer in their semi-final triumph and he has been partnered in the team during the cup run by Cian Harries, who has had very limited playing time in league games over the last few months. The prestige of a Wembley match along with the expectation of the fans to be cheering on a winning side may well result in what will be considered the strongest team being selected on the day and so we will have to wait and see whether the 2 Welsh young guns will be involved. As mentioned last month, Cian played on trial for Liverpool and is still being monitored by them. Apparently, there is also an interest from other clubs, Tottenham being mentioned as one of them and so his stock seems to be high with some of the Premier Leagues leading clubs. On a final note, the news has been released that Coventry have signed Yakubu as I am putting the final pieces together this week. We shall have to wait and see whether this threatens Georges place in the side.

    Posted: Wednesday 15th February 2017
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