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        Young Guns Blog by John Jones

    page updated: Fri, 8 Jan 21 : 07:58 refresh for updates [ scroll down to post your comments ]

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

    Scott Butler (Swansea City), born 2002, Defender.
    After having previously been associated with Wrexham, Scott joined Swansea prior to the start of last season. He certainly proved to be an excellent addition to the club’s U-18 squad and played in all but two of the team’s games in the shortened season. He also played in three games for the U-23 team during that time. This season, he has already played in a half dozen games for the U-23’s as well as making appearances for the U-18 team. His time as a scholar with the club will be coming to an end when this season is completed, and so he will be hoping to feature regularly for the U-23’s over the coming months as the coaching staff evaluate whether they will offer him an opportunity to be part of the U-23 squad next season. Scott has not had any exposure to international football with Wales teams up to this point, but if any age grade international football is sanctioned in the springtime, he will undoubtedly be a strong candidate for selection if an U-19 squad is assembled.    

    Iestyn Hughes (Manchester United), born 2002, Defender.
    Second year scholar Iestyn was a member of the United academy as a schoolboy before joining the club on a fulltime basis at the start of last season. He played in about half of the U-18’s matches before the season was terminated, but this season he has been more of a regular choice and has only missed two games. It is not only in the colours of United that Iestyn has been busy on the field of play over the last few seasons, having also donned the national shirt with a regular frequency during that time. Involved with Wales teams as a schoolboy, he played for the U-17 team in the 2018/19 season. Last season he was a member of the very successful Wales U-19 squad that qualified for the eventually cancelled elite round stage of qualification. He remains eligible for the U-19 team this season, but it remains to be seen whether conditions will allow for competitive matches to be played before the end of this season. In the meantime, Iestyn will undoubtedly be giving his all for the United teams and hoping that he will have done enough to prolong his stay at the club beyond the end of his time as a scholar with them.

    Henry Nash (Stoke City), born 2002, Defender.
    Henry started making appearances for the Stoke U-18 team during the 2018/19 season when his association with the club was still in a schoolboy status. He made an impressive number of eleven appearances that season, which is actually one more than he managed last season when he became a first year scholar. Although I do not have any information to confirm my speculative guess, I suspect that he may have been unavailable for some portion of the season due to injury issues. This season, he has been a regular selection for the team and in fact has played in all but one game that they have competed. From the best I can ascertain, it has been as a central defender that he has been utilized this season, but he is also very capable of playing as a wide left defender and has done so in that position for the team in the past. Henry has been involved with the Wales schoolboy teams and was also selected for the Wales U-16 team that was involved in games as preparation for the U-17 squad for the following season. He is of course another that is negotiating a defining season in his career as decisions will be made as to whether he moves on to a fulltime professional contract after this season ends.

    Owen Pritchard (Cardiff City), born 2002, Midfielder.
    After making a couple of appearances off the bench towards the end of the previous season, Owen made quite an impact for the Cardiff U-18 team when joining them as a scholar last season. He immediately started playing regularly for the team and appeared in most of the matches the team were able to play. This season, it is a similar statistic, but it is the U-23 team that has used his services in almost all of their matches. The coaching staff obviously believe that his progress at the club is going well and have challenged him to develop his skills at the next level of development football. He is still eligible for the U-18 team this season and has also played a few times for them. Judging from the trend set so far, it would seem that he will be used more often in U-23 team circumstances as the season continues and used only in important matches at U-18 level. The Cardiff management team will be making decisions regarding the composition of their playing staff for next season over the remaining months of this one and it would seem that Owen is making a favourable enough impression to be offered a further contract and become a candidate for a possible first team consideration in the future.

    Marcus Snell (Wigan Athletic), born 2002, Defender
    Marcus is in his second year as a scholar with Wigan and has been an ever present in the U-18 team this season. The team has been doing well and are presently the league leaders in their section of the competition. The Wigan development programme was elevated to the Category 2 status they are presently in after being dominant in their previous regional Category 3 competition placement. The U-18 team were also at the top of the table last season when football at that level came to an early end. It demonstrates the strength of the programme at the club and shows them worthy of the promotion they received in the summer of 2019. Marcus also contributed to the success of the team last season and played in about half of the games at that time. As he comes to the end of his eligibility at this level, his hope will be to continue at the club and move on to play U-23 level football, a decision club management will make as the season progresses. Marcus has played for Wales when he was selected to play for the U-15’s team during the 2017/18 season.

    page posted: Fri, 8 Jan 21 : 07:58 refresh for updates [ scroll down to post your comments ]

    [ photo embedded from FAW cymru ]

    Posted: Friday 8th January 2021
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