To read all last season blog posts scroll through posts on the young guns page
Murphy Bennett (Forest Green Rovers) born 2004, Defender. Previously, for some years, a member of the Manchester City academy, Murphy signed for Forest Green to become a scholar at the club at the start of this season. He has been playing for their U-18 team and has impressed the coaching staff enough to get some first team exposure. He in fact made his first team debut for the club when introduced for the few final minutes of a Papa John’s Trophy match earlier in the season and was also on the bench for the first round FA Cup game. Involved with the Wales schoolboy teams throughout his time as a schoolboy, Murphy played at both U-15 and U-16 levels. There were of course no games for the national U-17 team last season, but a group was assembled for a training camp in the autumn of 2020 and Murphy was amongst those selected.
Tyler Evans (Swansea City) born 2004, Goalkeeper. As a member of the Swansea academy, Tyler played more than a half dozen times for the Swans U-18 team in the 2019/20 season. He is now a second year scholar at the club and has continued playing regularly for the youth team competing with other talented keepers for game time. Tyler has impressed the coaches enough to warrant consideration for the U-23 team as well and has been part of the matchday squad on numerous occasions although he still awaits his initial starting assignment. Throughout his time as a schoolboy player, Tyler represented Wales at the various levels, including doing so as a member of the 2019/20 Victory Shield squad. He was another selected to be a member of last season’s U-17’s training camp squad. Justin Hanks (Nottingham Forest) born 2004, Defender. Justin began playing for the Forest U-18 team last season, playing a few times whilst still an academy player at the club. He signed to become part of the scholar ranks prior to the start of this season and has played in most of the youth team games as well as making a couple of substitute appearances for the U-23 team as they successfully negotiate their first season in the category one status competition. He is a new addition to those confirmed with Wales eligibility this season and earned his first couple of international caps when playing for the U-18 team that contested a couple of friendly matches against Finland in February.
Archie Harris (AFC Bournemouth) born 2004, Defender. Joining the south coast club’s academy as an eleven year old, Archie impressed the staff as he progressed through the various teams and was promoted from the U-16 side to play for the U-18’s quite a few times last season. Now a first year scholar, he has played regularly for the U-18’s this season and will be intent on persuading the coaches that he is capable of playing in higher levels of football. He has not had any involvement with Wales teams to this point, but his aim will be to do so and maintain a family tradition started when his sister Charlotte represented the nation in the ladies’ side of the game. Callum Jones and Morgan Lewis (Cardiff City) born 2004, Defenders. Academy members at the club since they were very young boys, Morgan’s tenure now approaches ten years whilst Callum’s is a few years shorter. They both played in a couple of games for the U-18 team last season as their time as schoolboy players came to its completion. They both signed on as scholars with the club last summer and have continued playing for the U-18’s as they work on establishing themselves at this next level of football. They are part of a talented group of young players Cardiff have recruited, who may push each other to develop the quality of their play towards first team consideration and subsequent success for the club. It is a substantial number, which may result in some not being retained, but hopefully there could be an outcome of playing at a good level of football at another club.
Dixon Kabongo (Newport County) born 2004, Midfielder. In his second season as a scholar with Newport, Dixon has been playing regularly for their U-18 team for most of the last two seasons. He joined County shortly after the start of last season after a successful trial spell with them. The coaching staff had selected an intake of scholars in the summer and then decided to conduct trials to supplement their squad. Dixon was one of the ones to make a favourable impression and they consequently signed him. The club has a large group of scholars who have been doing well and as the season comes to an end, decisions will need to be made regarding the futures of those whose times as scholars comes to an end. Dixon will be hoping that he has performed well enough to get an offer to remain as part of the Rodney Parade playing staff and move to the next level of development football.
++Ellis Sullivan (Colchester United) born 2004, Midfielder. As a second year scholar at Colchester, Ellis seems to have established himself as an important member of their U-18 squad and has become a regular member of the starting line-up. If I am interpreting what I read on another website I visit correctly, a decision has already been made by management at the club that Ellis, along with some of his teammates will be signing professional contracts when their scholar tenure ends. He has already been given an opportunity to play a few games for the U-23 team and next season he will be a member of that squad. Again, relying on my assumption when unable to locate facts, Ellis is regarded as a midfield player at the club, but he has been playing, obviously successfully, as a wing-back this season. He is another who was an addition to the excellent player database list during the season and awaits official confirmation of his Welsh eligibility.