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        Young Guns Blog by John Jones

    page updated: Fri, 30 Oct 20 :09:00 refresh for updates [ scroll down to post your comments ]

    To read all last season blog posts scroll through posts on the young guns page

    Joshua Edwards (Swansea City), born 2003, Midfielder
    Making his first appearance for the Swansea U-18 team when coming off the bench in the latter part of the 2018/19 season, Josh played a few more times for the team last season. He was also given a little bit of exposure to the demands of U-23 football when introduced as a substitute in three of the games he appeared on the bench for them. This season is Josh's first as a scholar with the club and will predominantly be involved with the U-18 team although the coaching staff may also want to give him some more experience at U-23 level as well. It is of course early days and it will take a lot of hard work and diligent application, but Josh has been described as one with the potential to become a player who may operate successfully at the higher levels of the game. He collected quite a few caps when representing Wales in schoolboy internationals and added to the number as a member of last season's U-17 squad. He helped the team achieve progress from the preliminary stage of the UEFA competition in the autumn of 2019 but unfortunately the remainder of the intended schedule was cancelled when the pandemic struck.

    Patrick Jones (Huddersfield Town), born 2003, Forward
    Patrick first represented Wales when chosen to be a member of the 2018/19 season Victory Shield squad. At that time, he was affiliated with Wrexham, they having signed him from local football when becoming aware of the good progress he was making. Huddersfield also became admirers of his talent and a few weeks after the start of last season managed to secure his services to become a member of their scholar programme. Patrick had to wait until January 2020 before being able to play for the club as his registration could not be ratified until the appropriate transfer window time. He did not waste any time in providing confirmation to the coaching staff that he was a beneficial addition to the playing squad. Eligible to play for their U-17 team, he not only did well at that level but also impressed when utilized in the U-19 team. With plenty of pace and an ability to be a regular scorer, Patrick was chosen for involvement with the first team as they conducted their abbreviated pre-season preparations and if he continues to shine in youth football, there may be some considerations to use him in competitive first team matches at some point in the season.

    Taylor Jones (Cardiff City), born 2003, Defender

    After a good first season as a scholar, Taylor will not only want to consolidate those achievements but also gain experience that will help prepare him for the anticipated next step in his development and his aim of forging a successful career in professional football. He does seem to possess the skills that provide the potential for such an ambition to become reality. Though considered primarily a defender he has the ability to play in a number of positions, a versatility that sees him regularly utilized in midfield positions when team needs deem it necessary. Involved with Wales teams throughout his schoolboy career, Taylor was a member of last season's U-17 team that did well and if conditions allow  for the national U-18 group to be assembled this season, he will certainly be a selection to be in that squad. The Cardiff development system has provided the Wales senior team with many influential players over the decades and Taylor is one of a promising group of youngsters at the club that the management team are hopeful will provide the next candidate to join that list.

    Liam Higgins (Everton), born 2003, Midfielder
    Now in his second season as a scholar with Everton, Liam has started in all of the club's U-18 games that have been played so far. It continues the strong impression he is creating at that level, after having either started or come off the bench in almost all of last season's matches. Not an easy feat to achieve for a first year scholar, the Toffee's recruitment system is well reputed for its successful acquisition of high quality talent. This produces club youth teams that perennially challenge for honours in their competitions. Undoubtedly, we can extrapolate that Liam's skills and ability are amongst the best within his peer group. His intention going forward will be to continue improving and developing techniques that will convince the coaching staff that he can comfortably compete at the next level of the development system, persuading them to retain his services as he progresses toward possible first team football representation at the club. Along the way he will most likely be missing from club football at times as the Wales selectors will request his attendance in squads. Featuring regularly for his country, initially with high frequency as a schoolboy and then moving on to be an important part of last season's U-17 squad, his name is expected to appear in the other age group squads and maybe the seniors, over the coming seasons.

    Max Williams (Salford City ¿ on loan at Chadderton FC), born 2003, Goalkeeper
    Max joined Salford at the start of last season to become a first year scholar at the club. If I have understood the information correctly, Salford have now abandoned conducting a scholar programme in favour of a development programme combining youth and U-23 players. Considering the high regard that has been mentioned about his skills and ability, it was not surprising that Max was retained for this season to become a part of this inclusive squad. He not only played for the U-18 team last season but was also involved with the U-23 team, as well as being incorporated in some first team training sessions. I noticed that Neil has a notation in the informative young players in action section, that he is presently on loan at Chadderton FC. Gaining first team experience will certainly be beneficial in the progression of his career and he will want to test himself against stronger and better quality opponents as he does so. Youth international football has wisely been put on hold as the present health crisis remains a foremost concern, a spring resumption is the next possible consideration, but only if conditions improve significantly. Whenever it may be, Max will undoubtedly be called upon by the selectors, having been an important player for Wales throughout his schoolboy career and then on to U-17 representation last season.

    page posted: Fri, 30 Oct 20 : 09:00 refresh for updates [ scroll down to post your comments ]

    [ photo embedded from FAW cymru ]

    Posted: Friday 30th October 2020
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