For football players to have achieved a time period whereby they are (or were) employed in a full-time capacity in the game, it is accepted the quality of their skills are substantial and worthy of praise. Media and fans want to further sub-divide the amount of praise and so careers are critiqued by further evaluation. One of numerous significant points in the discussion is when the century mark in first team appearances is eclipsed. At some point this season Bristol Rovers defender Luca Hoole will achieve that figure as a part of his resume and possibly go on to add many more in the coming seasons. He has steadily progressed in his abilities over the seasons to reach his present status of being an important, yet relatively young, member of the Rovers first team squad. Still at a stage of his career that further addition to the quality of his abilities can be anticipated, if it becomes so, there is a likelihood that that he will compete at a higher level than he has reached thus far. Assuming my conjecture is realized, then from a personal perspective, he will reach closer toward the goal that every player strives for, of being considered amongst the best. From our view as fans, it is another candidate that could be additive in improving the strength of the senior squad, providing extra impetus, as we crave with our insatiable desire for even greater success for the team in future. I have mentioned in past times that there is reason for optimism in that respect and Luca is one of many that could be helpful in us having some more joyful occasions. In terms of national representation, Luca has been amassing an impressive collection of caps in the age grade teams. He is now approaching double figures, having started doing so with the U-19’s and is now a regular member of the U-21 squad with a possibility of adding to the collection in the days ahead as the team continues its European qualification quest.
Everton is certainly a football club that figures prominently when anyone researches historical data of long past and recent Wales senior team representatives, with some very important contributors contained in that lengthy list. The process starts through negotiating some difficult obstacles as they aim towards that pinnacle. Two players trying to proceed along that path toward stardom are defender Aled Thomas and forward George Morgan. Both are first year scholars at Goodison Park and are certainly having a successful time at present. Aled is in fact an ever-present starter in this season’s U-18 team and George has also made appearances in most, his two goals contribution earning him a joint top scorer spot. An impressive start to their careers in full time football, but they will already know that the competition is fierce, with many having a likewise desire. Most, however, will be victims of the inevitable high attrition rate that determines their future success. We can assume that they possess the needed dedication and determination to propel them along the path, it will need all of it they can muster, along with that little bit of luck we all need to negotiate a satisfactory life. I add my wish that they can be beneficiaries of it. Both have represented Wales on multiple occasions as schoolboys as well as doing so at U-17 level last season. There are quite a good number of other Welsh qualified players in various stages of schoolboy academy teams at the club and so we can possibly look forward to other U-18 representatives in future seasons. Another hope is that there will be scholar graduates who can then aspire toward first team involvement.
Nottingham Forest is another club with numerous Welsh qualified youngsters, all of whom will get a deserved mention during the season. This week it is two players who are members of the U-18 squad this season. Firstly, is defender Theo Robinson, a second year scholar at the club and presently captain of the U-18 team, having also played in the majority of their games last season. Theo first played for Wales when he was a schoolboy and has then added further caps with the U-17’s and last season figured prominently in the U-18 teams. In what is a very crowded field of worthy candidates, he has missed out on selection for the U-19’s this season but I am sure he must be amongst the standby candidates should the coaches need replacement consideration. Two years the junior of Theo, forward Isaac Davies has made appearances in all but one of the Forest U-18 team’s games this season and has contributed with a couple of goals. Still a schoolboy associate at the club, as his later in the year birthdate does not allow him to be considered as a scholar candidate until next season, he is obviously not harming his chances of becoming one with his recent performances. Isaac played for Wales when a member of the U-15 squad a couple of seasons ago and then represented the nation last season, including being a member of the successful Vicory Shield squad.
An offer of congratulations is relayed to Norwich City defender Jaiden Owen upon the club announcement of his change in status by becoming a full professional at the club. It ended his time of only a few weeks as a scholar and so indicates that management have a very positive opinion as regards his future at the club. A member of the U-18’s squad last season as a schoolboy associate, he played in around half of their games at that time and this season has done so in almost all of them. Undoubtedly the coaching staff believe he can not only thrive in his present circumstances but also in the next level of development football and Jaiden’s aim is to be challenged with competency against U-21 opposition as soon as possible. Seemingly, this next step in the progression toward first team football consideration will soon become something Jaiden will experience, and he will certainly want to continue in the impressive fashion his career has taken shape so far. Jaiden first played for Wales when doing so for the U-16’s, his time when he might have done at U-15 level disrupted by covid. Last season he was involved in the training camp organized for the U-17 group and later played for the team when they competed in a couple of friendly matches. A continuation of an upward trajectory in football will likely provide another opportunity to be involved in national representation.
Another necessity to offer congratulations is the result of Crystal Palace attacking midfielder Jadan Raymond celebrating initial inclusion in a first team matchday squad for a competitive club game. I apologize to Jadan for being brief this time. I’m certain there will be another opportunity later to provide a more expansive paragraph. Though somewhat knowledgeable of his career, I am hoping someone can communicate extra information for me to better define his career. I would be extremely grateful to anyone who can do so. That statement also applies if I get better informed about other young guns as well.