Young Guns Blog by John Jones. Chem Campbell (Wolves) Even though only celebrating his 16th birthday on the penultimate day of 2018, Chem has to be considered as already being an important part of the Wolves U-18 squad. He has already appeared in half of the teamís games that have been competed this season, all but one of them with a starting assignment selection. Too young to be eligible to sign for the club on a full time basis as a scholar, it does seem inevitable that such a process will be instigated in the summer. Impressive facts, ones that can be put forward as those of a player that belongs in that category of ďone to watch for in the futureĒ. Many a young boy (this is effectively a description of those belonging in this age group), over the past many years, have seen themselves in similar circumstances and yet not achieved any kind of career in professional football. This is not to suggest that Chem is on such a path, but to bring awareness that there can be a great many hurdles to overcome between such a point as is now evident and the securing of a football career in which the lauding of many thousands of fans witnessing the display of skills becomes a reality. Iím sure that Chem and those close to him are well aware that only the show of a great deal of determination and dedication can propel him forward towards possible stardom. It is a task that will test his character to the utmost as it has done to all those who have found themselves at an equivalent stage in their lives and gone on to garner success. Chem has already represented Wales as a schoolboy and at U-17 level, hopefully many more caps are to follow.
Mason Jones-Thomas (Swansea City) A player who has been associated with Wales teams throughout his time in football, Mason is a schoolboy international as well as being capped at both U-17 and U-19 levels. He has also been an integral part of the Swansea City youth teams over this period although there has been an absence for a period of a number of weeks this season. In his and the teamís second game of the season, he left the field shortly after the halfway point and has only returned to be involved with it in recent weeks. His absence is assumed to be due to an injury. I am sure he will want to remain at full fitness throughout the second half of the season as it will be an important time in the determination of his future path in football. As a second year scholar, he will no longer be eligible for youth team play once this season reaches a culmination point. As has been discussed frequently in various ways on my blogs over the past weeks and months, Mason is entering that phase of his career in which decision making by management, coaches and he himself will determine how it proceeds after the summer off season.
Henry Nash (Stoke City) From time to time, Henryís name has appeared in the reported line-up for the Stoke City U-18 team, the club he is affiliated with as a schoolboy associate at this time. Reaching his 16th¬† birthday during the latter part of 2018 prevented the club from offering him scholarship terms commencing before the start of the 2019/20 season. On the premise that his involvement with the team in the present circumstances signifies that the coaching staff has a high regard for the quality of his talent, it is assumed that Henry will be joining the Potteries club on a full time basis at the start of pre-season training during the coming summer. This will give him an opportunity to develop his skills further and a possible chance at creating a fruitful career in football for himself. The criteria for achieving such a goal requires efforts that are far from easy and undoubtedly is a test of character and other attributes. We wish Henry well in his endeavours, as is our common desire for all the young players discussed in these weekly offerings.
Luc Noble (Bristol Rovers) Captain of last seasonís schoolboy national side, Luc retained the same duty as he moved on to represent Wales as an U-17 international player in this present one. This not only presents an indication of him being a talented player but also one that is a natural leader on the pitch, possessing an ability to accept responsibility to urge the team on to success if possible. A first year scholar at the club, Luc plays for the Rovers U-18 team that competes in the Alliance League and will be aiming to emulate a predecessor in it. Fellow Pirate, Tom Lockyerís impressive youth career gave him an opportunity for first team playing time and an eventual captaincy of it, this leading to his present status as a valued member of the Wales senior squad. It is certainly a wonderful example of how talent combined with determination and dedication can lead to success. These are the traits that must be present for any player whose goal is to secure a good professional career in football.
Keenan Patten (Cardiff City) Keenan has played in about half of the Cardiff U-18ís team games this season after having played in the majority of their games last season. This was following on from the previous one when, as a schoolboy, he also played a good number of games for the team. It does suggest that there may have been some unavailability issues at times over the last few months. He does however seem to be fully fit at the moment and so I am sure he is looking forward to having a good second half of the season. Another who has represented Wales at various levels, schoolboy, U-17 and U-18, Keenanís time as a scholar has only a few more weeks before it comes to completion. As has been the case recently with many second year scholars at the club, the coaching staff have selected Keenan to play for the U-23 team lately. It is likely that there will be further involvement in the coming weeks as management evaluate matters and use some of their focus on decisions regarding the desired composition of the playing staff for various teams when the next season begins.