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    Young Guns update


    Young Guns by John Jones.

    Lee Evans (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
    The inclusion of Lee in the list of standby players for the senior international squad was further acknowledgement that he is having a good season, although it may well have been even better had he not had a quite lengthy spell out injured. Having committed his future at the club for a further 3 seasons some weeks ago by now, it signifies that the management team at Molineux appreciate his skills and see him as part of the future ambitions of the club to regain a place in the Premier League. It has been somewhat of a struggle for the team in the lower end of the Championship but the fans were delighted to witness a couple of good FA Cup wins prior to further progress being halted by a superior Chelsea side. Lee has certainly helped the team gain some important points lately as they battle to keep themselves out of the relegation places and there will certainly continue to be anxious times as the season draws to a close. Though it is undoubtedly a hazard for one's credibility to make predictive comments about the future, I believe that I can state that Lee could well become an important player for the Wales team in coming seasons, especially if he can continue developing his game to higher levels in the way he has done in his career thus far.

    Alex Samuel (Swansea City on loan at Newport County)
    A player who must be one of the early names entered on the team sheet for Newport's 6 remaining League 2 matches. It will be a remarkable feat if the club can maintain their presence in the Football League beyond this season as they will need to win almost all of these last few games in order to do so. After substitute and bench appearance at the start of his loan spell, Alex has become a regular member of the side during the last couple of months, also adding a goal scoring contribution lately and if he can continue that part of his game, it could be very important in enhancing County's chances of survival in the league. With his present contract at Swansea coming to an end in the summer, he has certainly put himself in the shop window and quite likely gained himself admirers in the management teams at other clubs. It could possibly be that Swansea may offer him a new contract, but whatever is decided on that part, Alex will have some important decisions regarding his future coming up quite soon. The present manager at Newport, Mike Flynn has already stated his desire to keep Alex at the club should the opportunity present itself and terms acceptable to both parties be agreed. At the moment though, focus has to be on the games that lie ahead and then things will eventually unfold to determine what path forward Alex will take in his career.

    Dylan Thomas (Aberdeen on loan at Montrose)
    Dylan has been accumulating some reasonable amount of minutes of first team experience as he assists Montrose during the second half of the season. It is slightly surprising that most of this time has aggregated as a result of being introduced from the bench during the latter part of the team's games. His prior season and half before being loaned out was considered a successful spell at Pittordie and he was the captain of the club's U-20 team. It may be that there is still some amount of adjustment needed to get used to first team football even though the Links Park club operate a few leagues lower than Aberdeen's status. Without any knowledge of how Scottish Premier League clubs view and operate their U-20 development sides, I cannot guess how the future will be for Dylan. His contract will need a renewal if he is to stay at Aberdeen and they could possibly be intending to proceed in that manner. Celebrating his 20th birthday in February does mean that he is quite likely to be anxious to establish himself in a first team squad and that may have some bearing on his decision and possibly the club's part in how the outcome will develop.

    George Thomas and Cian Harries (Coventry City)
    This week we offer our congratulations to these 2 young men for being part of the victorious Coventry team that won the EFL Trophy at Wembley on Sunday. Both of them will probably consider the day as the highlight of their careers up to this point and one that will take another memorable occasion to supercede it in the future. To be involved in a Wembley match with a crowd only a few thousand short of capacity is something almost all players yearn but only a small proportion achieve. For George, the day had the additional significance of scoring Coventry's second goal, the one that ultimately provided the winning margin in the final result. Not only was it what gave he and his team mates the thrill of being Cup Final winners and the associated trophy and medal ceremony, it was apparently one that was composed in a manner that is worthy of comparison with some of the most notable strikes that have occurred in the famous stadium. In what has been a generally stuttering season for him, he has been able to firmly establish himself in the Coventry first team for that last couple of months adding goals on a more frequent basis than during previous runs in the team. He also contributed with goals as the team progressed the various stages of the competition helping them reach the final and so it was perhaps fitting from that perspective as well, that it was a stunning strike. In some ways, his appearances in the various rounds may have boosted his confidence as he did not feature in the league team lineup for much of that time. His form of late however will surely mean that his summer break will likely be a shorter one than some of his club team mates, as he deserves selection for the Wales U-20 squad that takes part in the early summer Toulon tournament. For Cian, although the euphoric occasion will have been a very pleasant experience, there will have to have been a some slight disappointment that he was not summoned from the bench to further soak in the atmosphere. He had played in quite a few of qualifying round games and been on the bench for the others. In a season that started out so brightly for him, where he caught the eye of some knowledgeable football judges and gained plentiful praise, he has played no league first team football for a number of months and only rarely on the bench during that time. Perhaps it is associated with the immense struggles of the team in general as they go into the remaining half dozen games with relegation likely to be confirmed at around half way through that series of them. The preference has probably been placed in experienced players to attempt a reversal of what has been a dire trend of results. This would seem to be confirmed by his trial period at Liverpool along with news that his talent is also admired by other Premier League clubs. Whether someone will try and prize him away from Coventry or he will be gaining experience in League 2 football next season, we shall have to await what may transpire to know. George would assumedly also prefer to be challenged by a better level of football than what looms for the Coventry team and most probably receive counter offers to the contract extension that will surely be offered him by the club. His age restricts him from being a free agent and so Coventry will be allowed to negotiate a fee should he decide to depart, such a scenario often ending in arbitration to settle the amount. Wishing them both the very best for what is ahead, having shown that they have an ability that could be developed into a long and productive professional career.
    Posted: Tuesday 4th April 2017
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