To read all last season blog posts scroll through posts on the young guns page
Kane Draper (Nottingham Forest) born 2005, Goalkeeper. As a schoolboy, Kane was affiliated with Pontardawe Town and was then recruited by Swansea to join their academy. This season he is a first year scholar with Forest after they signed him to join their club. He has not, as yet, played for their U-18 team as they seem to have a very capable goalkeeper whom the coaches have a great deal of confidence in, as well as a capable deputy who has been on the bench for most games. If it does not happen this season, I am sure will be pushing very hard next season in order to get an opportunity with the team. In 2019, Kane played in that summer’s Cymru Cup games and then represented Wales at U-15 level when he was a Swansea player.
Zach Hedge and Jack Shaw (Walsall) born 2005, Goalkeeper and Midfielder. Both Zach and Jack are first year scholars with Walsall and have been playing regularly for their U-18 team this season. Zach has also had some involvement with the older development team as well, I do not know if that has been the case for Jack as well. Zach participated in the 2019 Cymru Cup games and was then selected as a member of the squad that attended the U-17’s training camp in February. Jack is a very recent addition to the list of players with eligibility to play for Wales. He was also selected for the U-17’s training camp and then selected as a member of the U-17’s squad for the elite round of their European Championships. He in fact gained his first three caps with appearances in all the matches that were played. It does seem that he may well add to the collection in the future.
Isaac Jeffries, Tana Jones and Joe Keeping (Cardiff City) born 2005, Forward, Midfielder and Defender. Isaac began the season on the injured list and was not available for the first three months of the season. Once he had completed his recovery, he started playing for the U-18 team and has become a regular selection since that time, not surprising as he has been scoring at a rate of one every other game for them. His good form for the U-18’s has persuaded the coaches to expose him to U-23 football and he has played in some games for that team as well. Isaac older brother Dom is at Brentford B. Tana was the youngest member of this season’s intake of scholars and considerably younger than many of them. He has possibly been playing for the U-16 team this season but has made one appearance off the bench for the U-18’s. Joe played in a handful of games for the U-18 team last season and has been doing so again this season with appearances in about half of their games.
++Paul Kyffin (Rochdale) born 2005, Midfielder. In his first year as a scholar with Rochdale, Paul is seemingly playing regularly for their U-18 team. He has been on Neil’s player database list since the start of the season, but unfortunately, my limited ability in accessing information prevents me from being able to provide very much detail about him. I did see that it was quoted as “wonderful strike” in the mention of a goal he scored to help the U-18 team win their game last weekend. Paul has not to this point been involved with any Wales teams and will need official confirmation of his eligibility should the coaches have a desire to select him.
Tom Stokes and Jonah Williams (Newport County) born 2005, Forwards. Tom and Jonah are both members of Newport’s U-18 squad and have been playing for the team this season. As youngsters, Tom was affiliated with the Swansea academy whilst Jonah’s association was with the academy at Penybont. Both impressed the County’s coaching staff enough for them to include them in the group of scholars signed by the club last summer. They have done well enough for them to get an amount of experience in the demands of first team football as they were included on the bench for one of the team’s Papa John’s Trophy games earlier in the season. Tom played for the Wales U-15 team in the 2019/20 season and Jonah played in the Cymru Cup games in the summer of 2019.