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    Young Guns Blog
    by John Jones

    page updated: Fri, 17 Feb 23 : 09:30 refresh for updates

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

    Marcus Dackers (Salford City – on loan at Woking) born 2003, Forward.
    An academy player and then a scholar at Brighton and Hove Albion, Marcus did not make many appearances for their U-18 team whilst at the club and was released in the summer of 2021. In the 2019/20 season, he was loaned out to local club Lansing FC and made a good impression playing for their first team but unfortunately the pandemic restricted it to a short period. Salford signed him before the start of last season, and he quickly settled in to his new surroundings as a member of their U-21 squad. A couple of short term loan assignments at local non league clubs early in the season resulted in him returning to the club and added to the first team squad. He made his debut with a very late introduction in a league match and after more bench appearances was substituted into an FA Cup tie when he experienced the last dozen minutes or so. A loan at Chester FC during the second half of last season proved very successful and this season it has been a mix of making first team appearances for Salford and loan periods. Earlier in the season he was at Southend, which again went very well, and for the remainder he is scheduled to be helping Woking in their quest for promotion from the National League. It was as an U-15 international that Marcus first played for Wales and he has subsequently played at U-16, U-17 and U-19 levels.

    Harry Jones (Swansea City) born 2003, Defender.
    An academy player with Arsenal, Harry did not receive an offer of a scholarship at the club and so at the start of the 2020/21 season joined Swansea to continue his career. He played on an infrequent basis for the U-18 team, as the coaching staff’s decision was one of challenging him in the next level of development as the best aid to improving his abilities. An additional facilitator was used in the second half of last season when he was loaned to Barry Town United and he experienced a good amount of first team football in the Cymru Premier League. Harry started playing for Wales teams as an U-16 and was a member of the 2018/19 Victory Shield squad, then going on to collect over a dozen caps playing for the U-17, U-18 and U-19 teams.Harry Leeson (Bristol City) born 2003, Defender.
    Harry began his time as a scholar with the Robins at the start of the 2019/20 season and as well as playing for the U-18 teams, started three and made three substitute appearances for the U-23 team. Unfortunately, the information I have available for last season is very sparse, Harry did not play for the U-23’s and I am not sure if injury unavailability was a contributing cause. He has obviously done well enough to be retained by the club and is a member of this season’s U-21 squad, playing in twenty two of their twenty three games, a starter in all but two. His first involvement with Wales teams occurred in the 2020/21 season when he played for the U-18 team and last season played for the U-19’s in an early season preparatory tournament but was not in the squad that competed in the European Championship qualifiers.

    Aidan Macnamara (Cardiff City) born 2003, Defender.
    Joining his local club at the age of eight, Aidan played for the various Cardiff academy teams and did well enough for the club management to employ him as a scholar at the start of the 2020/21 season. Over that season and the next, he played in around half of the U-18 teams games and impressed during that time, earning him a professional contract for this season. He is now a member of the U-21 squad and has made appearances in around a third of their games so far. His hope will be to keep improving his abilities in the same manner as he has done in his long association with the club, doing well enough to be considered a candidate for future first team opportunities. As a schoolboy, Aidan took part in the 2017 Cymru Cup games and then was selected as a member of an Wales U-15 training camp squad. In the 2019/20 season, he was called up to the U-17 squad that successfully negotiated progression from the European Championship preliminary qualification group.

    Harrison Minturn (Swindon Town) born 2003, Defender.
    Harrison is another who joined his local club’s academy as an eight year old, impressing as he steadily progressed through the age groups to become a scholar at Swindon at the start of the 2020/21 season. He continued showing his quality in his fulltime capacity and was rewarded last season by making his first team debut in a Papa John’s Trophy match and then playing in another soon after. At the start of 2022 he was loaned out to Chippenham Town, gaining plenty of first team experience playing the whole of nine consecutive games for them. He returned to his parent club in early March, signed a professional contract and was on the bench for many of their late season league matches. After playing in a couple of early season Papa John’s Trophy games, Harrison was initially on a one month loan at Gloucester City before spending the next two at Chippenham and took part in plenty of first team football including the FA Cup first and second round ties for the latter. After his return to Swindon, he has been in the matchday squad numerous times and recently made his league debut when introduced for the last fifteen minutes or so. Although he is credited with strong displays as a central defender, management has no hesitation in using him as a midfield player when necessary and he can operate very comfortably in that role as well. He will now want to try and increase his playing time in whatever position required and attempt to become a regular selection in the team.

    Jay Williams (Fulham) born 2003, Defender.
    In 2018, Fulham negotiated with Newport County, with whom Jay was a member of their academy, for him to be transferred to join the London club and begin as a scholar with them in the 2019/20 season. Jay’s time as a scholar was interrupted a few times with injuries and this contributed to a lack of many appearances for the U-18 team. What he had displayed to the coaching team was enough quality for them to sign him as a full professional in 2021 and so he became a member of the U-23 squad last season. It was again a case of only a few appearances, but this season he has been involved in almost all of the U-21 team’s games as he finally gets to show how he can perform on a regular basis. His aim now will be to be challenged with first team football at some level and progress his career in positive manner. Jay played for the Wales U-16 team that contested the 2018/19 Victory Shield competition and the following season did so for the U-17’s as they qualified from the UEFA preliminary group stage. He was selected for the U-18’s last season and continued his national representation duties as a member of this season’s U-19 squad.

    [ photo embedded from FAW cymru ]
    Posted: Friday 17th February 2023
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