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        Young Guns Blog by John Jones

    page updated: Fri, 1 Oct 21 : 08:10: refresh for updates

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

    George Abbott (Watford) born 2005, Defender.
    After a five year association with Watford as a schoolboy, George starts his time in a scholar capacity with the club this season. An insight into the opinion the management and coaching staff have in the quality of his abilities was provided when they involved him in first team training as well as playing in some games as they prepared for their return to Premier League action with their pre-season activities. He played quite a few times for the U-18 team last season and has done so again this season. It is assumed that there will also be a good amount of exposure to U-23 level football and he has already made an appearance off the bench for the team recently. Considering that he has already been challenged at first team level, management may also want to find an opportunity to do so again at some point in the season, particularly if he keeps impressing as he has done. George first represented Wales in the 2019/20 season when playing in an U-15 level game. With the pandemic causing a long period when age grade internationals were cancelled, George next played for the nation when an U-16 squad was assembled for a friendly match in the spring of this year. His most recent appearance was for the U-18 team a few weeks ago. His progression in performance level has alerted the England management team to his potential and they are campaigning for him to switch his allegiance to them. We fans will be hoping that he will choose Wales, but the management team, as always, will allow him to make the decision without exerting any pressure on him.

    Scott Godden (Leeds United) born 2005, Defender.
    Scott is in his first year as a scholar with Leeds and has made an impact at the club by playing in most of their U-18 team games since the season got underway. He will, I’m sure, want to remain in the side as much as possible, gaining some good competitive experience as Leeds have been elevated to the top tier of development football competition. The Elland Road club have a deserved excellent reputation of constantly producing high quality graduates from their development system and Scott will be determined to be regarded as being amongst the next of those to do so. He has been associated with Wales teams for the last few seasons, playing in the 2019 Cymru Cup games and then with the U-16 team in April of this year. He was a member of the U-17 squad that played a couple of friendly games against Scotland in early September and will almost certainly be a member of the U-17 squad that will be in competitive action in November when they travel to Portugal for the qualifying round of the European Championships for their age group.

    Luke Harris (Fulham) born 2005, Midfielder.

    Last season, Luke played in over two thirds of the matches played by the Fulham U-18 team, quite an impressive amount as he was a schoolboy associate member of their academy. This season, he has moved to a scholar status at the club and the coaching staff are seemingly expediting his progress toward a possible future involvement with the first team, by exposing him to the next step in his development, U-23 team competition. He has played in all of that team’s games so far this season as well as once for the U-18 team. Luke is a midfielder, and his first responsibility is to exert his influence on that area of the pitch, but obviously also willing to attack at every opportunity as a goal ratio of one in a little less than every three games for the U-18 team verifies. He was a member of the Wales select team for the 2019 Cymru Cup tournament and then played at U-15 and U-16 levels when international games were possible. He was selected to play up a level when he was in the U-18 team to play against England earlier in the month, scoring the goal that secured the 1-1 draw in the game. This week his name was announced in the U-19 squad that will compete in the European Championship qualification games next week. Luke is another coveted by the England camp and they would be pleased if he chose to play for them. For the present, it seems he is very satisfied to be wearing a Wales shirt in international matches.

    Ben Lloyd (Swansea City) born 2005, Midfielder.
    Ben first played for the Swansea U-18 team as a fourteen year old in early 2020, the last game played by the team before the remainder of the season was cancelled by the enforced lockdown consequences of the pandemic. Last season, when still in a schoolboy status, he was not only busy with appearances in just over half the games played by the U-18 team but also made seven appearances off the bench for the U-23 team. This season, as a first year scholar he will most likely play much more frequently for the U-23 team than the U-18 team and may possibly make his competitive first team debut. He has already made a couple of appearances off the bench in pre-season games, having a magical moment of scoring soon after being introduced in his first game. He also had a bench assignment for the first round Carabao Cup game. Ben has been involved with Wales teams from the earliest times possible, playing in Cymru Cup, U-15 and U-16 games. He was another of the 2005 birth year players that attended this season’s U-18 training camp and played a friendly game against England. Ben will probably revert to playing for the U-17 team when they play the qualifying round of their European competition in November.

    This week, four sixteen year old’s who have already done well as they have negotiated the first weeks of their time trying to forge a career in football. They are amongst the most recent group that have completed their time in schoolboy football and are moving on to the next phase of their life in the sport. In what is a testament to the continuing successful methods of the Welsh development system over the past years, it is another large group of very talented youngsters who are exhibiting a potential  to achieve significant progress in the coming years. It is undoubtedly a treacherous path that has to be negotiated, needing the maximum of effort and perseverance to even achieve a modicum of success. We certainly wish them the best of fortune in their quest and will be cheering admirers of their talents if they reach the goal.

    page posted  Fri, 1 Oct  21 : 08:10 : refresh for updates

    [ photo embedded from FAW cymru ]

    Posted: Friday 1st October 2021
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