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    Young Guns Blog
    by John Jones

    page updated: Thu, 30 Mar 23 : 07:40 refresh for updates

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

    Rohan Davies (Swansea City) born 2005, Forward.   
    Rohan was introduced to the challenge of U-18’s football when he made one substitute appearance in the 2020/21 season. This was followed by a further five introductions off the bench last season, as well as one starting assignment for the team. This season, his first as a scholar with the club, he has been involved in three quarters of the U-18 team’s games and so has gained a good amount of experience of the demands at that level. His aim now will be to contribute even more for the team going forward.

    Thierry Katsukunya (Aston Villa) born 2005, Defender.
    After seven years as a member of the Coventry City academy teams, Villa negotiated for Thierry to join the club upon reaching his sixteenth birthday in late 2021. He began playing for their U-18 team soon after and has continued doing so this season with appearances in half of their games. He has also been given a brief taste of the next step in his development, making one substitute appearance for the U-21 team. Thierry was selected as a member of last season’s Wales U-17 squad involved in the elite round of European competition but was unavailable through injury when the games were played. He will get the opportunity to get his first cap as a member of the U-18 squad that is playing a couple of friendly games against their Scottish counterparts.

    Benji McCabe and Alex Roberts (Norwich City) born 2005, Defender and Forward.
    Both Benji and Alex were recruited to join the Norwich academy programme, having been previously affiliated with Leyton Orient and Peterborough United respectively. They did well enough at their new club to become first year scholars this season and have been playing for the U-18 team after initially gaining some good exposure to that level of play last season. Both have had an association with Wales teams since being attendees at the 2019 Cymru Cup matches and then played for the U-16’s as schoolboys. It continued last season when selected for U-17 squads and Alex was a member of the successful U-17 squad that competed in the preliminary qualification stage of European competition.

    Japhet Mpadi Matondo and Will Spiers (Cardiff City) born 2005, Forward and Defender.
    Japhet and Will, both joining the Cardiff academy as seven year olds, have a ten year history of representing the club in the various teams. They have progressed to become scholars this season and have been regular members of the U-18 team. Japhet played nine times for U-18’s as a fifteen year old in the 2020/21 season and made a further dozen appearances last season. Will also played a few times for the team last season. Both have been named in the U-18 squad for the friendly games, it will be Will’s first time involved with Wales teams. Japhet though is on a continuation of national representation that began as a participant in the 2019 Cymru Cup games. There was an interruption during covid restrictions, which prevented the opportunity for the Victory Shield games to be played in the 2020/21 season.

    Kiban Rai (Newport County) born 2005, Forward.
    It has been an exciting time for Kiban over the last few weeks with his diligence in continually finding ways to bring about improvements in the quality of his skills being rewarded with elevation into the first team squad. His involvement has also resulted in him making his first team debut and he has made three appearances in total. Each of them has been a brief introduction at the end of the game, but even though his experience on the field has been somewhat fleeting so far, the manager seems likely to be intent on giving him an opportunity for some meaningful minutes in the coming weeks. He is obviously very confident in his abilities to have included him in the squad and will be keen to evaluate if the performances confirm his assessment. Kiban is a second year scholar at the club and has been playing regularly for the U-18’s over the last two seasons as well as getting some game time with the older development team. Congratulations to him for exhibiting the dedication and determination required for his achievements and I’m sure he will want to continue in the same manner and produce even more success in his career.

    Theo Robinson (Nottingham Forest) born 2005, Defender.
    In his first year as a scholar with Forest, Theo has established himself as a regular member of the U-18 team, making appearances in most of their games this season. The vast majority of them have been as a starter, showing he is valued by the coaching staff and so there may well be challenges at the next development level before too long. Primarily a central defender, he is versatile enough to be capable of playing as a left sided defender or even as a midfielder if necessary. Theo began his association with Wales teams when playing for the U-16’s in the 2020/21 season and then played for the U-17’s last season, including being a member of the squad that progressed through the preliminary round of European qualification.

    [ photo embedded from FAW cymru ]
    Posted: Thursday 30th March 2023
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