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    Young Guns Blog by John Jones.

    Morgan Boyes (Liverpool)   
    A second year scholar at the Reds academy, Morgan has recently returned to become involved with the U-18 team at the club. As he was also frequently in the team last season, it was somewhat surprising that he was absent in the previous weeks. Only an assumption on my part, it could possibly have been some injury issues, although he did play for the Wales U-19 team in an early September friendly match. Hopefully he will be able to play regularly for the team for the remainder of the season, it will be an important time for him as he comes to the completion of his time of youth eligibility and decisions that involve the continuation of his career are made. Morgan produced an assured performance as he helped the Wales U-19 team win its friendly match last week and it is expected that he will be in the squad selected for the teams UEFA qualifying round of matches that take place in North Wales in November. 

    Ben Cabango (Swansea City on loan at TNS)
    Champions League football was not likely something Ben envisioned when accepting the offer of a professional contract with Swansea at the end of last season. Although obviously not the glamour ties that come to mind when mentioning such an entity, this is what Ben experienced in the summer months after TNS secured his services for a loan period. It does seem that it was a good decision as the WPL club have been very pleased with his contribution and Ben has apparently worked hard to continually improve his game as he has gained the experience of playing first team football. A beneficial arrangement that has similarly benefited others in the past and possibly a situation that could be taken advantage of on a more frequent basis. Though players such as Ben have an ambition to be competitive in a quality of football that is superior to that provided in WPL play, it could well provide an important step along the way to the achievement of that goal and certainly a different aspect of the game in comparison to what is provided in development level football. Hopefully it is a trend that can be continued and expanded, if it can in any way help young Welsh players, we fans will be delighted.

    Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest)
    Fans who witnessed the recent Wales U-19 match versus Poland in Bangor along with those who viewed the video shared by them, will have no doubt have been impressed by the quality of play provided by Brennan during the match. It was certainly a perfectly executed free kick and apparently his skills exhibited throughout the game were along with some others enough to suggest that the young guns already making important contributions at senior national level could be joined in the future by some of the talent that delivered a very good result against strong opposition. It was his first time of involvement in a Wales team although he was in fact selected for the Wales U-17 squad last season. With England also keen to court his services at that time, he was undecided and withdrew. Obviously, at least from our perspective, he has seen the light and made a wise decision, adding another prospective exciting player to the pool of Welsh players that we hope can provide a continuingly successful national senior side. His talent and commitment seem to be of a very high quality as those in charge at the City Ground in Nottingham have fast tracked his development to use him exclusively in U-23 level football so far this season, even though he could still represent their youth team as his 18th birthday does not occur until well into the spring of 2019.

    Ryan Reynolds (Cardiff City)
    Ryan has been an ever present in the Cardiff City U-18 team which is up amongst the leading contenders so far this season. Not particularly surprising as he played in the majority of their games last season, after joining the club as a scholar prior to the start of it. However, I am sure that he would consider the highlight of his season to this point was with the Wales U-19s as he captained the side to a victory in their friendly match against Poland. Apparently, he put on a display that was very apt as the leader of the team, although he did leave the game early in the second half after sustaining an injury just before the half. Not only did he play U-18 football last season but he also saw duty with the U-23 team on quite a few occasions. It is quite likely that he will be similarly involved as this one progresses as the assessment of his skills will be vetted for the decision on whether to retain his services beyond the current campaign is made. He will be determined to give his all in the hope that the choice made is a positive one and thereby providing him an offer of a professional contract at the club.

    Ryan Stirk (Birmingham City)
    Ryan completes his time as a youth team player with Birmingham at the end of this season but as he has already signed a professional contract with the club upon reaching his 17th birthday one year ago, he does not have the added worry of waiting for a decision on the progression of his career. The offer of the contract was not a surprise as has been highly regarded by the Blues having made appearances for the youth team from his time of his 15th birthday and onwards. Though still playing for the youth team, he has also been introduced to U-23 team football and will most likely be increasingly involved in that aspect as the season progresses. Obviously, Birmingham feel confident that he is more than capable of providing a good account of himself at that level in view of his signing a 3 year contract with them, it does seem to suggest that he is one they envision being of potential first team quality. Hopefully this will be the case sooner rather than later, doing so will delight both fans in the midlands and also those across the border who will be feeling that the strength in depth of the Wales senior squad is continually improving.

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    Posted: Wednesday 24th October 2018
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