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    page originally posted : Thu, 5 Dec 19: refresh for updates
    Young Guns

    Cameron Evans (Swansea City)
    Cameron signed a fulltime professional contract earlier this year after completion of his time as a scholar with the club. It was not surprising that he was offered such a deal as he had performed very well during his time in the youth ranks. In his first year, even though competing against both quality and quantity, he made appearances in about half of the U-18 team games. Last season, he captained the team and was involved in almost all their games. This season he has been similarly utilized for the U-23 team.  He also played in all three of the recent Wales U-19 games in which they successfully moved on to the next phase of their age-group championships. This added further to his cap collection, having also been a national representative as a schoolboy and at U-17 level. Older brother Jack has similarly been a Wales international player through the age groups and has been a member of the U-21 squad for the past three seasons, although it was temporarily halted last season through illness. Jack also made his first team debut for the Swans earlier this season and I'm sure Cameron will be aiming to emulate those feats as well.

    Luca Hoole (Bristol Rovers)
    Second year scholar Luca is certainly having an eventful season as he makes good progress at the club he has been associated with since joining their academy at the age of eleven. Introduced into the first team environment when included in the squad assembled for its pre-season preparations, he gained experience at that level when selected for the party that toured in Ireland. A few weeks later, he made his competitive first team debut when introduced from the bench midway through the second half in an EFL Trophy match. The good impression made at club level consequently saw him selected for the Wales U-19 squad chosen for a couple of friendly matches as they prepared for the competitive matches in the UEFA U-19  Championships. His first foray into national team involvement was a success, as he did well enough to retain his place in the squad that performed so well in their recent preliminary group matches. His aim now will be to continue to improve and impress, so that he can retain his place in the squad that will be selected to represent the Wales U-19 team as they contest for a place in the finals when elite group matches are played in the spring of 2020. Having only celebrated his seventeenth birthday this mid-year, he will in fact also be eligible for U-19 selection next season.

    Callum King-Harmes (Bolton Wanderers)
    Associated with the Wolves academy as a schoolboy, Callum represented Wales at that time but then moved on to Bolton when they offered him a scholar contract. He joined them very soon after the start of last season and not only played for the club's U-18 team but also appeared in the line-ups for their U-23 team quite a few times. At the start of this season, as the Wanderers struggled with ownership and financial difficulties, a very young team was their only option for selection. Callum therefore made his first team debut at that time and in fact was involved in quite a few League One games. When those troubled times were eventually resolved and Bolton were able to recruit more experienced players, Callum and the other young players returned to playing development level football. It not only gave Callum the opportunity to experience the competitive level he aspires to regularly achieve, but also gave management and coaches a chance to assess his ability. By all accounts, he made a very good impression in difficult circumstances and so future first team involvement is likely as he continues his development. This would also make him a strong candidate for next season's Wales U-19 squad.

    Harry Pinchard (Cardiff City)
    I think it is fair to say that for most of us who try to keep up with the fortunes of young Welsh players in the youth systems of clubs, Harry is one that has probably been under the radar in terms of expectations for the future. I certainly pronounce myself guilty in that regard. I have been aware of him as he played for the Cardiff U-18 during the previous two seasons and he did play in over half their games last season when he was a first-year scholar. He has played in almost all their games this season, but I only started taking more notice with his inclusion in the U-19 squads. Previous indications suggested that there were plentiful quality candidates for this season's Wales U-19 squad, and this was indeed the case. Harry's inclusion, his first involvement at national competitive level, was well warranted as he made important contributions in the qualification games, helping the team progress successfully. Now, he will want to continue making a good impression at club level and with the national selectors, moving his career onward in a very positive

    - John Jones.

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    Posted: Thursday 5th December 2019
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