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        Young Guns Blog by John Jones

    page updated: Fri, 10 Sep 21 : 06:02 : refresh for updates

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

    Zac Bell (Bristol City) born 2004, Defender.
    Now a second year scholar at the Ashton Gate club, Zac had a very successful first season in that capacity with City. He was not only a regular member of their U-18 team but also managed to amass almost a double-digit number of appearances for the U-23 team as well. An impressive achievement as a first year scholar, one that he will want to build on to demonstrate to the coaching staff that he can thrive in development football competition and push forward his candidacy as a potential first team contributor for the club in the near future. In the meantime, Zac will not only be performing at club level but also be assisting Wales teams as they resume playing competitive matches after most of the age group teams were unable to do so for almost a two year period because of covid restrictions. He was selected for the U-18 squad that attended training camp last week but was then moved into the U-19 group that has been playing in a friendly tournament. Zac had already previously represented Wales as a member of the 2019/20 Victory Shield squad.

    Harry Jewitt-White (Portsmouth) born 2004, Midfielder.

    Last season, the management team at the club decided that even though he was only a few weeks in to his first year as a scholar with the club, Harry was ready to be exposed to the demands of first team football, selecting him to play in two Papa John’s Trophy games. This season even though there have been personnel changes in the hierarchy of the club, the opinion remains the same regarding the quality of Harry’s ability and although not used, was on the bench for the first league match. This week, he accumulated more first team exposure with a twenty minutes appearance off the bench in the Papa John’s Trophy game. He had just returned to the club a few days earlier after being a member of the Wales U-18 squad that attended a training camp and played in a friendly match at its conclusion. It was not Harry’s first appearance for Wales as he was a member of the 2019/20 Victory Shield squad.

    Jack Kardogan (Newport County) born 2004, Midfielder.
    As a youngster, Jack spent some years affiliated with the Swansea academy system before moving on to Newport and signing with them as a first year scholar a few weeks after the start of last season. He has obviously favourably impressed the coaching staff at the club, becoming a regular member of their U-18 team last season. He is again a member of the U-18’s this season and has been rewarded for his good form by being named on the first team bench for their first round Carabao Cup match a few weeks ago. He may possibly get some more involvement with the first team in their Papa John’s Trophy matches, although there is strong competition from quite a few other scholars who are also considered to be valid candidates. Jack has represented Wales as a schoolboy, a member of the 2019/20 Victory Shield squad, he was also selected for the U-16 squad that played in a friendly tournament later that season.

    Ben Purcell (Reading) born 2004, Midfielder.

    After playing for the U-18 team when on associated schoolboy terms with Reading, Ben signed on as a scholar with the club prior to the start of last season, going on to play in almost all of the games they competed. He was also occasionally involved with their U-23 team, introduced off the bench to play in three games for them. It does seem as though he will have another busy season this time around having already played twice for the U-18 team and been on the bench the same number of times for the U-23’s. It does seem the coaching staff have a strong positive opinion about Ben’s ability and may challenge him with an increasing amount of U-23 competition as the season progresses. Ben is another who was a member of the Wales U-18 squad recently convened, a continuation of his association with the national teams. He played numerous times as a schoolboy including being a member of the Victory Shield squad two season ago and then the U-16 team that played friendly matches a few months later.

    Michael “Zac” Williams (Crewe Alexandra) born 2004, Defender.
    Zac, as seems to be his preferred reference to him, captained the Wales team that were successful co-champions in the 2019/20 season Victory Shield tournament and is now in his second year as a scholar with the Railwaymen. He has been making good progress at the club and last season not only played for the U-18 side but also for the U-23 team as well. Unfortunately, I have only been able to locate very limited information about the team line-ups for last season and so I cannot be any more specific with the information I am providing. He has also played in one of the U-23 team games this season, possibly more but again I do not have a means of knowing. He has not, as yet, made his first team debut for the club but was on the bench for the penultimate league game last season. Zac may well get a chance to do so in one of this season’s Papa John’s Trophy games, it may have happened last week had he not been away from the club on international duty with the Wales U-18 squad.

    The 2004 birth year has another large group of youngsters who are talented enough to have secured fulltime employment in the game as they try to achieve success by forging a career in football. The five mentioned this week are amongst the most prominent of those who have performed at above average expectations within their peer group. For all of them, it is but the start of the journey that may see them eventually gain the adulation of a multitude of fans. For many, it is an unfortunate nature of the profession they are involved in, that only a smallish fraction can gain a satisfaction of being good enough to secure a career, and even less can do so in the higher levels of the game. It is certainly hoped that some of them can develop a quality of talent that will be deserving of wearing a Wales senior team shirt and be productive contributors in games. It does provide for one to have optimistic thoughts when high standards in such quantity are available, that future Wales teams can have occasions that will thrill fans.

    page posted  Fri, 10 Sep 21 : 06:02 : refresh for updates

    [ photo embedded from FAW cymru ]

    Posted: Friday 10th September 2021
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