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    Young Guns update


    Young Guns by John Jones.

    Wes Burns (Fleetwood Town)
    With an injury absence curtailing Wes' availability to provide the extra impetus in achieving promotion for the club as he would have wished, a few games after his permanent move to join them, it must have been somewhat of a frustrating number of weeks on the sidelines for him. With his fitness restored, he has made some appearances off the bench before getting the nod for a starting assignment for their latest game on Easter Monday. The club management will I am sure be pleased that he is once again at full match fitness as they were quoted as being anxious to have his extra fire power assist them in their quest for success. Wes' marauding skills with an ability to put the ball in the net with some amount of regular frequency gained enough attention that saw him deservedly invited to participate in some training sessions with the Wales senior squad last season, but he does now find himself behind some younger competitors who have gained the edge on him at present. There is little doubt that valuable experience was something he benefitted from during his first half of the season loan spell at Aberdeen although it is difficult to assess the extent of the quality he competed against. Their club results in European competition would indicate that the SPL is a very long way behind the major European leagues and seemingly also behind many that I will categorize as medium level European leagues. Hopefully, this is an anomaly that can be corrected and the game north of the border can climb back toward closer comparison with former glories. Please excuse the digression, but I believe it does have some importance in discussing Wes. Certainly what is most beneficial for him is to wish that he is relatively free of any further injury and that there will be no more disruptive periods ahead for him. His enthusiastic approach and a talent level he possesses almost ensures a good club career as a professional footballer should lie ahead for him, but I believe that he will need to find a way to increase his skill level even more if he intends to find his way back into a Wales senior squad reckoning. I am sure that he does have the determination and dedication to perform the very hard work that could turn the desire into a reality.

    Tom Lowery (Crewe Alexandra)
    The statement released by Crewe last week that the decision had been made to trigger the club option to extend Tom's contract for another season was I am sure a welcomed relief for him as he works on regaining his fitness after injury. It was also quoted that there was a strong belief at the club that he had made enough impression in his few first team appearances earlier in the season along with his excellent progress as a youth team player for them to believe that he will be expected to challenge strongly for a regular first team place in the coming season. Hopefully, he will be ready to participate when pre-season preparations get under way, get his match fitness re-established and then quickly show the fans why the club management have shown their confidence in his ability. As for any young player trying to establish a career in football, there are seemingly always twists and turns along the way and Tom has certainly met these full on so far and shows that he is full of determination as well as having a talent level that gives him more than a decent chance to become a very good player. We wish him all the very best as he continues this venture.

    Josh Sheehan (Swansea City) Louis Thompson (Norwich City)
    I have paired these two young men together as the commentary on their situation is almost identical and so I can discuss them as a pair. Both have unfortunately suffered season ending injuries earlier in the campaign and so no active football situations can be anticipated prior to some point next season. This is far from an ideal situation for either as their present contacts at their respective clubs expire in the summer. Undoubtedly, they will be given all the assistance required as they go through the recovery process but seemingly there is no indication of what may occur after this time. Both have shown an ability that has suggested there is a potential for involvement in senior international football with a continued progression of their careers in the manner it has proceeded to this point and there will almost certainly be some good amount of interest from elsewhere should their parent clubs not be forthcoming in a continuation of service. It is certainly a potentially stressful situation that they find themselves involved in, as is the case for a great many players in the summer months between each season. At this time, the most important thing we can wish on their behalf is for a speedy and full recovery from their afflictions as a first objective. After that, it is for renewed vigour in rededicating themselves toward getting their careers back to the levels whereby they can again be considered as candidates that can succeed in top level football. Wishing them every good fortune possible toward gaining that achievement.

    George Williams (Fulham)
    It has to be admitted that there has quite likely been far fewer mentions of George in these weekly musings of mine than I would have anticipated at the start of the season. He had been one of those young players that his marauding and positive skill set had excited a great many Welsh supporters with his introduction into the Wales senior team. Of course, a serious injury certainly hampered his progress for an extensive period after that, but his return after recovery was greeted with a hope for a return to further exhibiting those silky skills. It has not quite happened as yet for George over the last couple of seasons since that unfortunate interruption. He was of course a member of the squad that performed so magnificently in the Euro's but was very much on the periphery in terms of featuring in any field action. It did however provide a hope that this season would see him produce performances that gave an indication of a return to his old form. A loan arrangement with MK Dons seemed to provide a platform from which such an outcome may be started proved to be basically anything but, as he struggled to get much playing time in a situation that seemed ideal at its outset. This occurrence prompted Fulham to recall him midway through the season and since that time he has been exclusively involved with their U-23 side. I am sure that it was a good decision on their part as they preferred to oversee him regain his confidence in their midst. That has been a successful decision as he has shown the ability to be a shining light in those circumstances and it will hopefully lead to making further steps along the ladder of success in time. With the season about to come to an end in about another week or so for the U-23 team, I am sure that George will reflect on it as something of a lost season in terms of career goals. With one more year remaining on his contract, some rest over the next few weeks will hopefully have him ready to put it all behind him and be enthused to prepare for the new season with a determination to be once again heavily involved in first team football activities, all Wales fans being quite delighted if this scenario becomes viable.
    Posted: Wednesday 19th April 2017
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