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        Young Guns Blog by John Jones

    page updated: Fri, 25 Feb 22 : 08:30 :  refresh for updates

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

    Eddie Beach (Southampton) born 2003, Goalkeeper.
    After being a member of the Southampton academy, Eddie signed on as a scholar with the club in the summer of 2020 and is now in his second year of that status. He did not play for the U-18’s until this season but has been the starter in more than half of the games played since that time. He has not played since the start of the year, and he may be sidelined with injury issues at present. Eddie’s good club form caught the attention of the Wales coaching staff and he was consequently selected for the U-19 squad. He made his national debut playing in a friendly tournament at the start of the season and was then selected for the U-19 squad that competed in the European qualification games in October.

    Omar Taylor-Clarke (Bristol City) born 2003, Midfielder.
    Recruited by the Robins to join their academy, Omar then became a scholar at the club at the start of last season. He has been a regular member of the U-18 team since that time and so must be making a good impression with the coaching staff. That is confirmed by his involvement with the clubs U-23 team. After making one substitute appearance at that level last season, he has played a handful of times for them in this one and is quite likely to add significantly to that figure in the next few weeks. The club has a large group of second year scholars and so the coaches will have to make some difficult decisions about which players they believe can thrive in the next level of development football. Omar was selected for the 2019/20 Wales U-17 squad that qualified from preliminary stage group European Championships, the remainder of the competition being eventually cancelled as a result of the pandemic. I’m sure that one of Omar’s aims is to further represent the nation and add to that single occasion he has had the opportunity.

    Sam Collins (Nottingham Forest) born 2003, Midfielder.
    Sam is in his second year as a scholar at Forest after having previously been affiliated with the academy teams for a few years. Last season he played in more than half of the U-18 team games and this season has made appearances in all but one game. He has also had exposure to U-23 football and after making one substitute appearance last season, has played a couple of times for the team lately. It may well be that there will be some further chances for him to do so during the remainder of the season as the coaches, asses, and determine which players will be retained by the club beyond their days in youth football. Sam was involved with Wales teams as a schoolboy and played in the 2017 Cymru Cup games. In 2019 he was selected for the Wales U-16 team, in a game organized as preparation for the players transitioning into readiness for U-17 international football in the 2019/20 season.

    Patrick Jones (Huddersfield Town) born 2003, Forward.
    Wrexham recruited Patrick to join their academy teams after he had caught their notice playing in local football in his early teenage years. After reaching his sixteenth birthday, Huddersfield expressed an interest in gaining his signature and he joined the Yorkshire club in September 2019. He did have to wait for international clearance before he could play for their teams, but once he did in early 2020, he quickly caught the attention of those previously unaware of him, with impressive displays for the U-17 team. The coaching staff, intent on enhancing his progress soon exposed him to the demands of U-19 football and he again excelled in that challenge. Last season, after doing well with the U-19’s and the B team, he was assigned a bench appearance for the first team in a December 2020 league match. He made his debut a few weeks later when starting in an FA Cup match and this was followed by a couple of substitute appearances in league games. Unfortunately, he picked up an injury soon after, and it has been one that has mostly kept him sidelined until recent weeks. Now he is fully fit, the coaches are excited that he is back playing for the development teams and anticipate that he will once more be pushing for involvement at first team level. Patrick played in the 2017 Cymru Cup games and then was a member of the 2018/19 Victory Shield squad. He played for the U-17’s the following season but the injury made him unavailable for the U-18s last season and the U-19’s in this one.

    Rhys Shwank (Cardiff City) born 2003, Forward.
    Now in his second season as a scholar with the Bluebirds, Rhys has been starting regularly for the U-18 team over recent months and has played in all but two of their games. He was initially introduced to that level of football in three games in the 2019/20 season when he was still a member of the club’s academy. Last season he made a dozen appearances, the majority of them when introduced off the bench. Rhys is a forward who operates predominantly as a wide player rather than centrally, but still contributes a reasonable amount of goals for the team. Rhys was involved with Wales teams as a schoolboy, attending training camps as well as playing in the 2017 Cymru Cup games.

    Keelan Williams (Burnley) born 2003, Defender.
    A long time member of the Liverpool academy as a schoolboy, Keelan was allowed to leave the club and in the summer of 2020 and so signed to become a scholar at Burnley. Last season he played in around half of the U-18 team game and this season has done so in the majority of them. He has also had a couple of outings in the U-23 team and there may well be more over the coming weeks as club decisions will need to be made as to which players will be retained to transition into the U-23 squad next season. Keelan played for Wales teams throughout his time as a schoolboy, in the Cymru Cup, at U-15 and U-16 levels, including with the Victory Shield side that tasted success in the 2018/19 season. In 2019/20 he played for the U-17 team but did miss the European Championship qualification games through injury. Last season, he had the honour of captaining the Wales U-18 team that played in a friendly against England and this season was a member of the U-19 squad for the qualification games.

    page posted  Fri, 25 Feb 22 : 08:30 :
    refresh for updates

    [ photo embedded from FAW cymru ]

    Posted: Friday 25th February 2022
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