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    Wales Football Youth
    Young Guns Blog
    by John Jones

    +Harrison Minturn
    Josh Gentles
    Cameron Congreve
    Sam Parker
    Jacob Cook
    Tom Woodward
    Iori Griffith

    page updated: Thu, 30 Nov 23 : 08:55 - refresh for updates

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


    Central defender +Harrison Minturn (2003) has certainly grasped the opportunity to establish himself as a regular starter for Swindon Town in recent weeks by producing some excellent performances and helping the team gain positive results. Harrison made his first team debut for the club in the 2021/22 season when selected for the team taking part in an EFL Trophy match. A second year scholar at that time, he gained extra experience by spending time on loan in non-league football. Signing a professional contract prior to the start of last season, he has recently been rewarded with an extension that keeps him at the club until at least the end of next season. Last season, he appeared in a double-digit number of games for his parent club as well spending a couple of periods on loan at nearby clubs. He will now want to build on to these achievements and continue to progress his career in an increasingly positive direction. As you probably are already aware, the notation ahead of his name signifies that although there is confidence of his Welsh eligibility, only ratification by the Wales FA can provide official recognition of that status.

    Forward Josh Gentles (2007) has caught the attention of quite a few that monitor up and coming talent with his goal scoring exploits this season. Starting his time in fulltime football with Rangers FC after previously being a member of their academy, he has been playing for the club’s U-18 team as well as for their B team. He has been scoring regularly for both teams, the highlight being when receiving the match ball for the hattrick he achieved when playing for the B team this week. Josh began his association with Wales teams when selected for the U-16 group that attended a training camp at the start of last season. He has already assembled a notable collection of caps by playing regularly for the U-16’s and then doing so for the U-17 team this season.
    Midfielder Cameron Congreve (2004) has been associated with Swansea teams for the past decade. He progressed well through the academy teams, displaying his excellent ball control skills along with an ability to contribute goals for the team and became a scholar in the summer of 2020. He continued doing well and in early March of 2022 was promoted to first team duty. After a couple of matches when he remained on the bench, he was introduced in for the last minute of the next one as he made his senior debut. He remained in the matchday squad for a total of fourteen games, a further couple of brief introductions as substitute culminated with a starting assignment for the final two games of that season. Last season, Cameron made ten league appearances, all but one being as a substitute but there were also two starts in cup matches. He has again caught the eye of this season’s new manager and has been on the bench for the last nine games although he has not managed to get any playing time. Ideally, the greatest benefit to his game is achieved by having him compete with opponents in games, but he has had relatively little of that for the Swansea first team even though he is considered very much part of the squad. Hopefully the dilemma can be resolved to the benefit of all concerned as quickly as possible. One alternative would be assisting another club on loan. However, to reap the greatest rewards it would need to provide a guarantee of playing time as well as being challenging enough to keep developing his skills. Displaying that he has an ability to contribute for the Swansea team would be the ideal answer. Cameron has represented Welsh teams throughout the age groups and this season is a member of the U-21 squad. Alongside Cameron on the bench for a recent league match, was defender Sam Parker (2006), who began his time as a scholar at the club at the start of last season. He played regularly for the U-18 team as well as making a couple of appearances for the U-21 team in his first season, impressing the coaches sufficiently to instigate a change in his contract with the award of a full professional status just after the beginning of this season. His intent now will be to continue his involvement with the first team, secure more matchday squad occasions and if so, it could well lead to an eventual first team debut. Last season, Sam played in three games for the Wales U-17 team, his first instance of representing the nation. Swansea has numerous Welsh eligible players amongst their playing staff, their development teams containing many youngsters who are doing well. Three players in their U-18 squad, whom I have selected based on their appearance record are ones I will discuss this week. Midfielder Jacob Cook (2006), a first year scholar at the club, made his first appearance for the U-18 team when introduced as a substitute in the 2021/22 season. He played in about two-thirds of their games last season and has been a starter in all of them this season. Jacob made his Wales debut when playing for a mixed U-15/U-16 team late in the 2020/21 season and then did so for the U-16 team the following season. Last season, he was in the U-17 squads throughout the season as they progressed to the finals of the UEFA competition. The leading scorer for the U-18 team this season is midfielder Tom Woodward (2007), another who is a first year scholar at the club. He played in well over half of the U-18 team games last season and contributed two goals. At present he is finding a way to hit the target regularly and has scored eight goals in the twelve games played, an eye-catching statistic. Iori Griffith (2006) is also a midfielder and a first year scholar with the Swans. He was another heavily involved with the U-18’s last season, playing in around half of their games and has played in all but two in this one. Neither Tom nor Iori have any Wales representation to this point, but that may change over time.

    photo embedded from FAW cymru ]

    Posted: Thursday 30th November 2023
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