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    Young Guns Blog index


    page originally posted : Sat, 22 Feb 20
    Young Guns

    Oliver Denham (Manchester United)
    A second year scholar with United, Oliver has not played in many games for their U-18 team over the last two seasons, due in large part I believe, to injury. A member of the Wales schoolboy squad that competed for the Victory Shield in the 2017/18 season, he continued to be involved with Wales teams in preparatory games that season and in the following one in U-17 national games. Named in the squad to compete in the preliminary qualification stage of the UEFA U-17 competition, he had to withdraw before the matches were played because of an injury he had sustained. This seemingly kept him on the sidelines for quite a lengthy period. Whether it is a lingering effect or some other reason, I have to admit my complete lack of knowledge in this respect, but the judging from quality of his skills of prior times, something would seem to be preventing Oliver from having at least been a matchday squad member more often than has occurred. The hope is, that he can overcome the issues and still develop a bright future in the game.

    Michael Ellery (Sheffield Wednesday)
    A constant selection in his time as a scholar, Michael has played in almost all of Sheffield Wednesday’s U-18 team games last season and this one. During this time, he has been the left sided defender in the team but can also play competently in a central defensive role should it be required. He joined the ranks of the scholars with the Owls after having previously been an academy player with Everton. As a schoolboy he played numerous times for the Wales team and then as an U-17 international when he moved into that category of eligibility. Michael certainly has the confidence of the youth team coaching staff in regard to his skills and ability and will certainly be trying to convince management at the club that he is a good enough player to be competent at the next level of development. It is the time of the season when the evaluation process at clubs starts to get coupled with decision making, as they assess the needs for composition of various playing squads for the coming season.

    Callum Jones (Hull City)

    It was when affiliated with Welsh Premier League club, The New Saints, that Callum came to the attention of other clubs and it was Bury that managed to secure his services in the autumn of 2018. Still young enough to be eligible for the youth team at that time, he played regularly for the Bury U-18 team last season. He obviously did well with them, as he attracted the attention of management at Hull City and they negotiated for him to join them in August 2019. It has been a move that has seemingly been beneficial for both club and player as he has played in almost all of the U-23 team games the club has competed in this season. It is an indication that Callum has comfortably adapted to the next challenge presented to him in his football life progression and has shown an ability to compete successfully in the next level and tougher environment of developmental football in which he now performs. His aim now will be to continue to excel in these circumstances, moving ever closer to a possible opportunity to be selected for a Hull City first team assignment.

    Ntazana Mayembe (Cardiff City)
    The appearance of Ntazana on the bench for the Cardiff City first team in a Championship match and subsequently in an FA Cup tie, created an interest in the press. Rightly so, as it is somewhat unusual for a young player to get selected at that level. He played in around half of the Cardiff U-18 team’s games last season when affiliated with the club as a schoolboy. This season, he is a first year scholar and has played in the majority of games, adding a goal scoring record of well above a goal every other game to his resume. This in part, along with the pace aplenty he is reported to have, will undoubtedly have made a good impression on the coaches. He must, however, be an overall skillful and talented player to warrant inclusion in the first team squad. This quality is also evident in his selection to play for England at U-15 level. Ntazana is dual qualified and was included in a Wales U-15 training camp squad but has not played in any competitive games. The Wales U-17 team will be playing in the elite round of UEFA qualification matches next month and he may possibly be selected in the squad that contests those games.

    Barney Soady (Bristol City)
    Last season, Barney, as a first year scholar, played not only on a regular basis for the club’s U-18 team but also amassed double digit appearances assisting the U-23 team as well. It certainly showed that the coaching staff had plenty of confidence in his ability to compete against older and probably very often more physically mature opponents. Prior to this, when Barney was still in a schoolboy status, he had caught the attention of the Wales coaching staff when his name was published as one of those nominated to be on standby for the national U-17 squad. This season, as he continued to feature for the Bristol City U-23 team, he made his Wales debut when playing for the U-19 team in a couple of early season friendly matches. Selected as a member of the squad announced a few weeks later, as preparations for the UEFA qualification games continued, Barney had to withdraw before the group assembled. It was presumably because of injury and seemingly is one that has required a lengthy recovery period. With an ability to locate only a partial record of lineups for Bristol City U-23 and U-18 games, I cannot be certain, but it seems Barney has been absent from the games in the intervening times. If I am correct in these suppositions, it is hoped that the recovery situation is progressing well. Also, it is one that will allow Barney to resume his career in the very positive manner it has been progressing previously. Another hope is that it is soon. Wishing him well.

    - John Jones.

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    Posted: Saturday 22nd February 2020
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