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To read all last season blog posts scroll through posts on the young guns page
Owen Beck (Liverpool), born 2002, Wingback After an excellent season in which he made the left wingback position his own in the Liverpool U-18 team, Owen received just rewards when the club's management team signed him on to a professional contract. This season he is a member of the U-23 squad at the Reds and in the few games they have played has had a combination of a starting assignment and appearances off the bench. His aim now will be to join the list of young Welsh players who have worn the Liverpool first team shirt in competitive action recently. Initially, it will be to become a standout performer in U-23 football, doing so would certainly enhance the prospect of that next step occurring. Owen is a versatile player and though I have listed him as a wingback at present, he has operated as both a midfielder and a winger in the past. Another of his aims will be selection for further representation for Wales after already having done so at schoolboy and U-17 levels. He is eligible for this season's U-19 team which UEFA hope to sanction for games to be played in the spring of 2021. He will undoubtedly be a strong contender to be chosen in the squad but does face stiff competition in what is another large group of high quality players available for selection.
Isaak Davies (Cardiff City), born 2001, Forward Isaak accumulated a high total of appearances for the Cardiff U-18 team over a period of 4 seasons, starting to do so as a fifteen year old associated schoolboy and in that same status for a further season before moving on for two more as a scholar. He was also a regular scorer for the team and will now aim to do the same, having moved on to be a member of the U-23 squad. Doing so would certainly get him some attention to achieve what is his ambition of playing for the Cardiff first team. Club management have affirmed their commitment to use the club development system to bolster their first team needs and so if Isaak can exhibit an ability that pertains to the quality required, he will get an opportunity to realize his goal. Reaching such a status would also be a big positive in terms of international football. He has already represented Wales at schoolboy, U-17 and U-19 levels and I am sure he is hoping to add to those already collected caps by gaining some at U-21 and of course at senior level as well.
Cameron Evans (Swansea City), born 2001, Defender After being a standout performer in his two seasons as a scholar with Swansea, Cameron moved on to be part of the club's U-23 squad last season. Appearing in every minute of all but one of the U-23 games, Cameron was rewarded for some impressive displays when selected to be on the bench as the first team contested the semi-final first leg end of season play-off game. It was therefore an easy decision for management when tending an offer for a contract extension to continue with the club this season. As he continues predominantly with the U-23's, another two appearances on the bench have occurred this season and it would seem that the occasion of him making his first team debut will come along at some point in the near future. Swansea are already gaining a reputation of producing defensive players of outstanding quality that results in international selection in their development system and Cameron is certainly a potential candidate to be eventually included in that list. Already capped by Wales at schoolboy and U-17 level, he continued that trend when moving on to U-19 football and was a member of the successful national team in that category last season. He played in the recent age group friendly against England and was obviously going to be selected for the Elite group matches had they not been cancelled. Though the competition for places is intense, his next objective will be to stake a claim for wearing the national shirt during an U-21 international match.
Daniel Malone (Stoke City), born 2002, Midfielder After being a constant selection for the Stoke U-18 team during his two seasons as a scholar with them, Dan was duly rewarded for his contribution to the team as a recipient of a professional contract with the club. He can operate in midfield either as a defensive safeguard or centrally as an orchestrator of attacking moves with equal adeptness and is now playing in such roles as a member of the U-23 squad. In his time as a youth player at the club, he has had periods of involvement with first team training sessions and so the coaching staff obviously have a high regard for the quality of skills he possesses and view him as potentially having the abilities that can be beneficial to the first team in future. The Wales selectors have also admired his talent over the years, selecting him regularly to represent the nation, which he has done at both schoolboy and U-17 level. He is almost certain to be a selection for this season's version of the U-19 squad, if the infection rates of the virus can be sufficiently contained to allow UEFA to sanction competitive matches to take place at some point in the springtime. Should he miss out because of restrictions, it would undoubtedly be a disappointment for him, but more than likely it could be somewhat tempered by the fact that he is on a path to strongly suggest he will play U-21 football for his country and quite possibly at senior level as well.
Will Russ (Leicester City), born 2002, Forward When Will made appearances for the Wales schoolboy team, he was an associated schoolboy with Chesterfield. His displays at that time along with those for his club's academy team prompted Leicester to negotiate his transfer to their club. He started playing for Leicester's U-18 team whilst still in an associated schoolboy status and appeared in the majority of the team's games that season. He is now in his second season as a scholar at the club and though still playing for the U-18 team, the coaches are also assessing him for the future as he has already made a couple of appearances off the bench for the U-23 team. He has also played for the club U-21 team that participates in this season's EFL Trophy. His time as a scholar will be completed at the end of this season but Will does seem to have a favourable trend which may well see his association with the Foxes prolonged beyond that time. As mentioned already, Will has played for the Wales schoolboy team and has also done so for the U-17's. He will be a strong contender for selection for U-19 duty if such a squad is deemed to require assembling.
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