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    Young Guns Blog by John Jones.

    Aaron Lewis (Swansea City)
    Aaron was a member of the Wales U-20 squad that fared so well during the summer tournament in Toulon and made a couple of contributions from the bench for the team. He has not been involved with the U-21 team this season, with only 18 players in the squad it has been a case of being squeezed out by numbers. Added to this, is that the incumbent wing backs have performed well, although I would most certainly expect a call to be hailed in his direction should a replacement for those positions be necessary. He has played well in the club's U-23 team this season and has been a regular member in the side that has continued being very competitive even though they have stepped up a level and so now meet stiffer opposition. The next step for Aaron other than further international recognition is to move toward first team consideration at the club. As we all know, a mighty step to achieve, one that cannot be even contemplated without strenuous efforts put forward. Every Swans and national fan is buoyed when young Welsh players hone their talents to a level where Premier League play is regarded as to be within their means.

    Tom Dyson and Liam Edwards (Hull City)
    After years of being affiliated with the club, Tom and Liam left Swansea City in the summer. The move from the South Wales coast and the general pattern of westerlies that influence weather in the Bristol channel, now sees them on the east coast of Yorkshire where the vagaries of the North Sea are in control of weather conditions. This will I am sure matter little to these 2 young men as they continue to pursue their ambition of constructing a fruitful career in the full time professional ranks of football. Given this opportunity in the East Riding town, they are at present involved with U-23 team at the KC Stadium in the second tier of the structure at this level. I am not sure whether Tom has secured a contract at the club but has been regularly in the team and so must be considered an adequate addition to the squad. Liam, almost a couple of years younger, has mostly made a contribution from the bench but has been able to supply goals when doing so.

    Tom Owen-Evans (Newport County)
    Tom has been a member of the first team squad at the Rodney Parade club for a couple of seasons and though he has not found himself penciled in as a starting player with much regularity has still amassed a good amount of playing time, providing important options for the team whether from the bench or in occasional starts. He was certainly an important contributor as the team produced the necessary results to narrowly escape dropping out of the Football League system in the very latter part of last season. Fortunately, the League 2 table sees the team placement reside in its upper reaches this season. Tom has added competition for involvement through new signings helping the team to generally get good results and make promotion a possible thought for Exile's fans to ponder. Of course, there are still a great many matches still to be contested before any real determination of what the end of this season will entail as far as the team's final position is concerned, Tom will surely endeavor to help make it as successful as possible.

    Ben Williams (Barnsley)
    Moving on from Blackburn at the end of his time as a youth player with them, Ben was invited to trial with the Oakwell club. His subsequent fate resulting from good performances, was securing a contract at Barnsley and I am sure that management there have been pleased to acquire his signature as he has been a constant member of the U-23 team throughout this first third of the season. Joining what was already a strong contingent of Wales squad members at the club, he will undoubtedly be aiming to become another who is part of the Yorkshire club's first team squad. A Wales schoolboy international, he was on the bench for the U-17's but was unused during the tournament and has not been called up for the U-19's although he was named on the standby list for the recent friendlies and would have been similarly considered for the squad presently playing in the qualifying tournament.

    Connor Young (Cardiff City)
    Young is a name familiar to Cardiff fans during the 1990's as Scott was amassing close to 300 appearances for the club during this time before injury curtailed his career in the very early years of this century. A brief period as first caretaker then assistant manager occurred some years later. Now, it is Connor's turn to continue a family association with the club. He is in his first year as a full time professional after a successful time as a youth with the club and has been a regular member of the U-23 team during the first months of the season. He would love to emulate his father by occupying the central defensive position for the first team, the fans also likely to adopt him as a favourite should he become a regular member of the side.

    With international football very much to the fore in the days ahead, there are plenty of interesting scenarios for Welsh football fans to follow. The U-19 team will be vying for the opportunity to extend their involvement in the qualifying tournament into the spring as they attempt to secure enough points to progress. The U-21 team has 2 important matches, as they will place themselves in a favourable position in the group points table if victorious in both. It will not be an easy task in a group where it seems the teams are evenly matched, this probably means that success in home matches is of paramount importance. Though we would much rather be anticipating the senior side to be still involved in World Cup matches, the upcoming friendlies still carry quite an amount of importance. The youngsters, who remained largely on the periphery of proceedings as qualifying games were contested, will be transitioned into the side and hopefully gain valuable experience. France, of course, need no introduction and will be a very tough opponent. Panama will be an unknown quantity to most but will also be a good test for the team. Having qualified for the World Cup from the North and Central American region, they have been an improving side over the last few years. It will be important to get results to maintain their position in the rankings, so it will need a careful balance of experience and experimentation in order to keep the team progressing in a positive way. Hopefully, it will be a good week for all the teams in their respective ventures, so a wish of good fortune to all of them concludes what I have for this week.

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    Posted: Tuesday 7th November 2017
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