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    Young Guns Blog
    by John Jones

    page updated: Fri, 12 May 23 : 10:00 refresh for updates

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

    Luke Armstrong and Joshua Beecher (Cardiff City) born 2006, Goalkeeper and Midfielder.
    Selected for the Wales U-17 squad which plays in the European Championship finals this month, both Luke and Josh also represented Wales as schoolboys and were members of last season’s co-champion Victory Shield squad. They are first year scholars at Cardiff, Luke having previously been an academy player at Wolves. Josh has been with the club somewhat longer, having joined the academy at U-13 level.

    Gabrielle Biancheri (Manchester United) born 2006, Forward.
    Making a couple of substitute appearances for the Cardiff U-18 team last season and scoring a goal, Gabrielle followed it up this season by playing in a half dozen more games and scoring four. It shows the confidence his coaches had in an ability to succeed against older players. They were not the only admirers of his talent with scouts from numerous clubs as onlookers. Manchester United successfully negotiated his transfer and he will begin his time as a scholar with them next season. He has already been introduced to U-18 football and scored a first goal for his new club. Gabrielle is a member of the present Wales U-17 squad, having also played for the nation as a schoolboy.

    George Nevett (Rochdale) born 2006, Defender.
    In his first season as a scholar with Rochdale, George made good progress establishing himself as a regular member of the club’s U-18 team and helping them reach the third round of the FA Youth Cup. A continuation of improving his skills impressed management at the club enough to include him in the first team matchday squad for the penultimate game of the season. He made his first team debut in that game when introduced for the last two minutes of it, also remaining in the squad for the next match.

    Harrison Page (Newport County) born 2006, Defender.
    Harrison is likewise a first year scholar at his club and performed well to secure regular involvement in the U-18 team during the season. He also caught the attention of the manager who decided he was deserving of selection for the first team squad. He was named as one of the substitutes for their penultimate match but remained on the bench and was unused during it.

    Vimal Yoganathan (Barnsley) born 2006, Midfielder.
    Joining Barnsley to become a first year scholar with them this season, Vimal has been an important contributor for the U-18 team as they celebrated being champions of their league by a substantial margin. He has made appearances in twenty nine of thirty four games played by the team to this point in the season. As a schoolboy, Vimal attended Wales training camps and at that time was affiliated with the Liverpool academy teams, having joined them as a twelve year old.
    The season is now approaching its completion and, as normal, I will take a break during the off season. This is therefore my last version of what is presented as something you may find useful and maybe pleasant reading. Hopefully, you have found some amount of enjoyment in doing so. The six youngsters mentioned this week bring the total done so over the last nine months to more than one hundred and seventy. Quite an array of talent, providing promise that the future of Welsh football fortunes will remain in the positive mode of present times as we move into the coming years. As fans, particularly so in a national sense, we do enjoy those times of celebrating immense pride in our heritage when successes are achieved. A heartfelt thanks to all concerned in producing those euphoric moments that have given us pleasant memories to reflect upon. We certainly hope that the compilation will continue, giving The Red Wall reason to harmoniously and vociferously render their choral output at decibel levels to the scale of the crimson thunder so eloquently expressed by Michael Sheen. Sorry, my optimism is unwavering and gets me carried away at times. Unquestionably, severely challenged in times past, even to a point of self-critiquing with almost resignation, but that “Yma o Hyd” spirit that is within us, was always a reviving reservoir to syphon from.

    Ok, I will shut up and move on to something that is more relevant. The international season has still some weeks to go before its conclusion and will certainly entertain our strong interest. Firstly, we have an European Championship finals to follow, as the U-17 squad contests their group adversaries in the coming days and maybe keep our interest beyond that stage. They have done very well to qualify and of course the competition gets tougher with every progressive step. I do not profess to have any knowledgeable inkling of the proposition that faces them, but my gut feeling senses their chances of reaching the knock out stages as being a reasonable possibility. Next month, the senior side will continue their series of qualification matches for the 2024 Euro’s. They have certainly started the campaign well by gaining four points in the spring matches and hopefully they can add significantly to that total in their next two games. Although my expectation is that we can maintain our sequence of qualifications for successive Euro’s, it will most likely be a tight affair once more. We shall see, I will be overjoyed if they get the required points sooner rather than later. The U-21 team are about to start their qualification process, playing the first group game in June for the competition that concludes in 2025. It will undoubtedly be a very big challenge to qualify for the final stages, but the strength of the squad does suggest that they can be competitive and so are not without a chance of doing so. Plenty to keep us occupied before we take a breather and most probably almost immediately start our focus toward next season. My best wishes to all of you.

    [ photo embedded from FAW cymru ]
    Posted: Friday 12th May 2023
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