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        Young Guns Blog by John Jones

    page updated: Fri, 4 Sep 20 :19:25 efresh for updates [ scroll down to post your comments ]

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

    Follow us on twitter : https://twitter.com/dragonsoccerygb

    Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea), born 2000, midfielder
    This season Ethan will certainly want to accrue much more first team playing time than occurred for him in the last one. Loaned out to RB Leipzig for the season, injuries not only had him unavailable at times but also hampered an opportunity to establish himself as a starting option for the team. Hopefully, those issues will not be a factor this time around. The quality of his talent has already been evident on occasion when he has played for the Wales senior team. Playing regular first team football will enhance his ability to become increasingly influential in games, a facet of his abilities I believe will also become an important component in future Wales team successes. With the start of the season delayed along with the associated consequences of dealing with the present crisis, it is still to be determined whether remaining at Chelsea or another loan is what lies ahead for Ethan. We shall have to wait and see what outcome occurs.

    Ben Cabango (Swansea City), born 2000, defender
    Ben signed a professional contract with Swansea in the summer of 2018 upon the completion of the 2 previous seasons spent as a scholar at the club. He was loaned out to TNS for the first half of the 2018/19 season where he impressed many who watched him play for the Cymru Premier side whilst gaining valuable first team football experience. Last season, he made his first team debut for the Swans and endeared himself to the fans as he became a regular starter, helping the team reach the playoffs in the Championship. The progress made last season has now resulted in selection for the Wales senior squad. Our congratulations to him for obviously working hard to keep continually improving his game, quickly absorbing and using the lessons learnt, as he progressed through the various challenges posed over the last couple of seasons. His aim going forward will undoubtedly be, not only to continue playing first team club football regularly but also to do so internationally and judging by what he has achieved so far, I will venture to say that it is a strong possibility.

    Rabbi Matondo (FC Schalke 04), born 2000, forward
    It was certainly a bold decision by Rabbi to accept the challenge of moving to Schalke in January 2019, one that has proved to be correct, providing him first team football exposure sooner than would have been otherwise expected. Playing regularly for the whole of last season showed that he was up to the challenge of competing in first team football, although at such a young age it is very much still a learning experience for him. The Bundesliga is certainly a high quality league in terms of both the physical and technical aspects of the game and as he gains experience and further develops his competitive abilities, the Wales team will gain even more benefit added to what he is already contributing. His undoubted pace and good scoring record could well help propel the team to future successes.

    Tyler Roberts (Leeds United), born 1999, forward
    Tyler is a player whose name became familiar to Wales fans some years ago when he was included in a senior team training camp whilst still a scholar. With West Brom at that time, the club also decided that he would benefit from exposure to first team football rather than youth or even U-23 competition. He was therefore loaned out and showed his quality when playing in League 1 for Oxford, Shrewsbury and Walsall at various times. With West Brom reluctant to give him many first team opportunities he moved to Leeds. Although he has made further progress at the Yorkshire club, it has been interrupted by various injuries, preventing him from establishing a regular starting role. Fans of the club have expressed a mixture of praise and frustration over his time with them and now he will have an even bigger challenge as they strengthen their squad upon the return to the Premier League. Many have predicted over the years that it is a stage that he can excel in. Hopefully, the injury issues can be resolved and the opportunity to show his quality in Premier League competition will be something we will regularly witness.

    Neco Williams (Liverpool), born 2001, defender
    When I wrote my assessment of Neco's achievements and future prospects in the early weeks of last season, I intimated that an opportunity to perform in front of the Anfield faithful was somewhere on the horizon for him. What I thought would be interpreted as relatively optimistic comments have been far outdone by what has happened in the intervening time, thrilling as well as surprising me as it has unfolded. Playing in a position occupied by one of their own and an undoubted important contributor to the successes of the Liverpool team over the last couple of seasons, the fans embraced his appearances for the team as a replacement with similar fervour, as he seamlessly integrated into what was a well oiled machine last season. Plenty has been written and so I will not bore you with repetition other than to say he was deservedly selected for the present Wales senior squad.

    Five youngsters who may possibly become integral members of the Wales senior squad for many seasons into the future. Though only in the early part of their careers, they have already exhibited qualities ensuring selection for the Wales senior squad. Their achievements thus far provide evidence for a potential to play regular first team football at the higher levels of the game for multiple seasons.

    Doing so will add prowess and nuances to their present skills, a development that will produce an ability to improve their contribution in international competition surpassing their already competent performances. I propose that Wales fans can look forward with some amount of confidence that there are also numerous other players in the age group teams who suggest they are on a similar trajectory to this group. If this conjecture I present proves to be fairly accurate, intense competition for team selection might be something that arises. The Red Wall may need to prepare itself for an abundance of excitement along with plenty of reasons for joyous celebrations. I hope my crystal ball is not leading me astray with such predictions.

    page posted: Fri, 4 Sep 20 :19:25 refresh for updates [ scroll down to post your comments ]

    [ photo embedded from FAW cymru ] 

    Posted: Friday 4th September 2020
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