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        Young Guns Blog by John Jones

    page updated: Fri, 19 Feb 21 : 06:22 : refresh for updates [ scroll down to post your comments ]

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

    Bradley Gibbings (Swansea City) born 2002, Forward.
    Bradley is celebrating his tenth year of association with Swansea, as a first year fulltime professional player at the club. His previous years culminated with two seasons as a scholar in which time he exhibited enough quality to warrant a retention of his services to become a member of the U-23 squad. An attack minded winger, he has played regularly for the team after being given a brief introduction to the demands of U-23 competition last season. He will want to continue playing on a regular basis and use the experience as a part of improving his abilities to reach a standard that will achieve first team consideration. Over the years, Bradley has made a good amount of contribution to Wales teams, as a schoolboy he was a member of the 2017/18 Victory Shield squad and then the following season he played for the U-17 team. He is eligible for the U-19’s this season and will be a candidate for selection for that age group if the Wales management team are able to continue with arrangements for training camps next month as is currently planned. There may even be some competitive games for the U19 team in the spring if UEFA’s tentatively planned schedule is not interrupted by the pandemic situation.

    Eli King (Cardiff City) born 2002, Midfielder.
    This season is the fifth one in which Eli has played for the Cardiff U-18 team after making his debut for them quite soon after his fourteenth birthday in the 2016/17 campaign. A talented player at a young age, he continued accumulating appearances for the following two seasons as a schoolboy affiliate at the club before starting his time as a scholar at the start of last season. I must in fact apologize that in my mention of him last season, I stated he was a second year scholar then and did not properly verify my comments. It is of course this season that is his second one as a scholar and during it he has played quite a few times for the U-23 team as well as some games for the U-18’s. Eli is another player with a lot of involvement with Wales teams as a schoolboy and was in the squad for the 2017/18 Victory Shield matches and then moved on to represent Wales at U-17 level when playing in the 2018/19 UEFA competition qualification matches. A couple of his biggest interests as the season moves towards completion will be to receive news of whether the club will retain him beyond his present status and if he is selected for involvement with the Wales U-19 squad.

    Callum King-Harmes (Bolton Wanderers ¿" on loan at Bamber Bridge) born 2002, Forward.
    After previously being an associated schoolboy member of the Wolves academy, Callum joined the Bolton scholar programme shortly after the start of the 2018/19 season. Playing regularly for their U-18 team in that first season, he did well enough to have some involvement in U-23 games as well. Callum then made his first team debut for the club at the start of last season as their financial constraints necessitated them to rely on many of their younger players to supplement team needs. He played in a handful of League 1 games before more experienced players were eventually signed. Although only at the start of his second year as a scholar, the manager at that time praised Callum for some of his performances in what were difficult circumstances. Attendance in matches was not an issue at that time and many fans who saw him play were optimistic about what he might be able to contribute to the first team in the future. This season, Bolton reached an agreement to loan Callum to Bamber Bridge in order for him to gain some further experience in first team football but the covid issues have severely restricted the number of games played at that level of football. His playing time has been supplemented by also playing for the Bolton U-23 team. He is another player who was a member of the 2017/18 Victory Shield squad and then later that season played for the Wales U-16 team in preparation games for the following season’s U-17 matches.

    Joe Low (Bristol City) born 2002, Defender.
    First year professional Joe has reappeared in the Bristol City U-23 team line-ups since the turn of the year and played in the four games contested since that time. He had been absent from the team for the first half of the season and I cannot provide information as to why. Perhaps it was an injury issue, or he may have had a loan assignment I am not aware of, but it is good to see him back playing and in fact he has been captaining the side. Joe has been a member of the Bristol City academy for some years and last season completed his two seasons as a scholar with the club. He not only played regularly for the U-18’s during that time but also made a half dozen or so appearances for the U-23’s in each season. He is obviously highly regarded by the Robins management team and his aim now will be to impress them enough to warrant first team consideration. Joe first played for Wales as a member of the 2018/19 U-17 squad competing in the UEFA qualifiers and last season was a member of the U-19 squad that successfully negotiated UEFA qualifying round and progressing to the eventually cancelled elite group competition. He, of course, remains eligible for the U-19’s this season.

    Jamie Taylor (Crystal Palace) born 2002, Midfielder.
    This season is Jamie’s first as a Crystal Palace player having previously been a schoolboy associate and then a scholar with Bristol City. In his time with the Ashton Gate club, he played for various academy teams before moving up to play for the U-18 team. During his time as a scholar, Jamie also played a few times for the U-23’s but even so, a decision was made as last season came to an end, not to offer him a professional contract and so he accepted an offer to join Palace. It seems to be a situation that has benefitted both club and player as Jamie has become a productive member of the U-23 squad with appearances in more than half of the games played. Although I have him listed as a midfielder which I believe is his preferred role, he has the ability to perform defensively for a team, one that he occupied with some frequency in the Bristol City teams. I also believe he also played defensively and in midfield for Wales teams over the years. Involved with the national set-up from a young age, he was a member of the Victory shield squad in consecutive seasons, both 2016/17 and 2017/18 and then progressed to play at U-17 level in 2018/19. Another, who is a candidate for U-19 involvement this season.

    ++ to be confirmed if eligible for Wales

    page posted: Fri, 19 Feb 21 : 06:22 refresh for updates [ scroll down to post your comments ]

    [ photo embedded from FAW cymru ]

    Posted: Friday 19th February 2021
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