To read all last season blog posts scroll through posts on the young guns page
++Aidan Dowling (Blackburn Rovers) born 2002, Goalkeeper. An academy player and then a scholar with Rovers, Aidan did well enough in that time at the club to earn a professional contract which he signed last summer. This season he is a member of the U-23 squad and has played in some games for the team but has also had a couple of spells away from the club on loan assignments. Last season he spent a few weeks at Marine and this season he has been at Halifax and Lancaster which has given him an opportunity to experience first team football. His aim now will be to do that at higher levels of football. There is a high confidence that Aidan has Welsh eligibility, but as shown using Neil’s notation, it will need verification before there can be an official confirmation.
Aaron Evans-Harriott (Coventry City) born 2002, Midfielder. Admirers of Aaron’s talent, Coventry were eventually successful in securing his transfer from Cheltenham in February 2020 after many months of negotiations. He was a first year scholar with the Gloucestershire club at that time and moved into a full professional situation at his new one. He played in a combination of U-18 and U-23 team games in 2020/21 before doing so solely for the U-23’s from the start of last season. He made his first team debut at Cheltenham, introduced for the last few minutes of an EFL Trophy game a few months before his move. As a schoolboy, Aaron attended training camps for the Wales teams.
Kwaku Frimpong (AFC Wimbledon ¿" on loan at Carshalton Athletic) born 2002, Midfielder. An academy player and then a scholar with The Dons, Kwaku performed well enough for the management team at the club to decide that he could potentially be a contender for first team consideration in the future. Completing his time with the U-18 team last season, he was then signed to a professional contract and moved on to become a member of the development squad. This season, the coaches believed his progression would be best served by gaining first team football experience and so he was loaned out to Leatherhead. A mixed bag of circumstances led to a mid season change and so he is now with Carshalton for the remainder of it. It is seemingly a success and Kwaku has contributed to the team, including scoring in one game.
Dominic Jeffries (Brentford) born 2002, Midfielder. As a second year scholar at Newport County, Dom played six times for the first team in the 2019/20 season, five of them in EFL Trophy games and one in an FA Cup tie. He did not play in a league game but was on the bench for a few matches. Although he had made a good impression, with the financial situation uncertain due to pandemic restrictions, a decision not to offer him a professional contract was made and so he was released. Salisbury, who had him on loan for a short period a few months earlier, decided to sign him to join their squad last season. Brentford were aware of how well he had done and so signed to become a member of their development squad for this season, and he has been playing regularly for the Brentford B team. His hope now will be to continue improving his game and create a possibility of elevation to the first team squad in the future.
Owen Pritchard (Cardiff City) born 2002, Midfielder. A very successful first season as a scholar in 2019/20 prompted the Cardiff coaching staff to facilitate Owen’s development progress by involving him primarily in the U-23 team games and so he played many more games at that level than at U-18 last season. It was therefore no surprise that he was offered professional terms and became a member of the U-23 squad this season. Unfortunately, after playing in a few early season games, Owen has not featured for the team since that time. I do not have any information as an explanation, but it does seem an injury has interrupted his season, one that has required a long recovery process. Hopefully he is on a path towards being ready to play again and he can resume making the favourable impression he achieved prior to being sidelined.
Will Russ (Leicester City) born 2002, Forward. After being an academy player with Chesterfield, Leicester negotiated for Will to join them for the last few months of that time and then he became a scholar at the club at the start of the 2019/20 season. He played regularly for the U-18 team and then last season he played in quite a few games for the U-23 team as well as for the younger side. This season, he is a member of the U-23 squad and has appeared in about a third of their games. I believe I am correct in saying that a decision by management to retain Will’s services has been made and so he will have the chance to continue developing his game with the club. As a schoolboy, Will represented Wales as a member of the 2017/18 Victory Shield squad and played regularly for the U-17 team the following season. He would most likely have played for the U-19’s last season had those games not been cancelled.
James Taylor (Crystal Palace ¿" on loan at Tonbridge Angels) born 2002, Midfielder. As an academy player at Bristol City, Jamie made appearances for the U-18 team in the 2017/18 season and continued playing regularly for them the following season when he became a scholar at the club. In the 2019/20 season he played in games for both the U-18 and U-23 teams and became a fulltime professional at the end of it. After one season as a member of the U-23 squad, a decision by management to release him resulted in a move to join Crystal Palace after a successful trial period there. This season he has been playing for the Palace U-23 team until he was loaned to Tonbridge for the remainder of the season. He has been gaining valuable first team experience as a regular starter for the Angels and this will certainly be helpful in the future for him. As a schoolboy, Jamie was a member of the Wales Victory Shield squad in consecutive seasons and then when a scholar played for the U-17 team in 2018/19.
++Joe Taylor (Peterborough United) born 2002, Forward. On loan at Wroxham early in the season, Joe demonstrated he was a prolific scorer at that level and Peterborough decided to sign him from parent club Kings Lynn Town in November. He initially joined as a member of the U-23 squad and then became eligible for the first team squad in January. He continued playing for the U-23’s early in the year and his goal return average of one per game initiated his involvement with the first team squad. He has been on the bench for their four most recent games and has been introduced late into each one. He has already gained praise from the manager as he adapts to quite a large increase in quality of opposition, and it would seem to be only a matter of time before he starts scoring for them. If he can do so regularly, Peterborough will be able to reflect on a very beneficial addition to their squad. As per the notation, Joe would need official confirmation for Wales eligibility, and he is certainly another to keep an eye on.