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    Young Guns Blog index


    page originally posted : Mon, 30 Mar 20
    Young Guns

    Scott Butler (Swansea City)
    Scott is a first year scholar at the Liberty Stadium club and it does seem that he has made a favourable impression with the quality of his playing ability, as he has appeared in almost all of the club's U-18 matches this season. Joining Swansea prior to the start of the season, having previously been associated with Wrexham, his transition into these new circumstances have been easily accomplished. His first involvement at not only playing with new teammates, but also at a level of football above what had been previously encountered, presented a formidable challenge. Indications are, that the Swans have recruited a player who has the potential to further develop significantly, possibly resulting in one to have an impressive career at a good level of football. I have not been able to verify it as fact, but the most logical assumption is that Scott's birthdate happened in the late months of 2002. If that is the case, it is another name added to a considerable tally of players eligible for Wales representation at U-19 level next season. The apparent quality along with quantity available, should allow the coaches to choose a strong squad at the appropriate time.

    Aaron Evans-Harriot (Coventry City)
    After developing through the Cheltenham academy having initially joined them as a youngster, Aaron signed on as a first year scholar with the club prior to the start of this season. A thrilling occasion for a teenager who not only represented the club but also supported them from the terraces in his schoolboy years. An even more memorable moment arrived a few months into the season, as he was introduced off the bench for first team duty in an EFL Trophy match. Good performances for the Cheltenham U-18 team prompted the opportunity, the team having done well in the FA Youth Cup. It needed a penalty shootout for Arsenal to eliminate them in the third round of the competition. This alerted other clubs to scout for talent and after some amount of time negotiating, Coventry were eventually successful in reaching agreement on a mutually acceptable compensatory fee with the Robins, consequently Aaron joined the midlands club. Coventry elected to assign him to their U-23 squad when signing him to a fulltime professional contract. Their belief is to accelerate his progress in this manner, but he will also be eligible to play for their U-18 team next season, if such decisions are required. Having already represented Wales at schoolboy level, his next opportunity to do so will come if considered for inclusion in the national U-19 squad.

    Daniel Jones (Forest Green Rovers)
    My first awareness of Daniel as an addition to the young guns category was the result of him playing for the Wales U-17 team competing for the Telki Cup in the early weeks of last season. Curious to know more about him, my attention focused on reviewing news available from his club to see if I could get better informed. What I was able to find out was that it was not at all surprising he had been called up to the Wales squad. His club management team had decided to involve him in first team training sessions as a part of the pre-season preparations. Joining the scholar ranks at that time, he had impressed enough for them to consider his development would be facilitated by incorporating him in the squad for that time period. During the season he played for the development teams as he worked on improving various aspects of abilities. This season, evidence of his continuing improvement was reflected when selected for bench assignments in first team EFL Trophy matches, making his debut when introduced for most of the last half hour of one of the games.

    Siyabonga Ligendza (Cardiff City)
    Siyabonga was one of the intake of new scholars at Cardiff at the beginning of the season, having been previously associated with the club in his schoolboy years. Last season whilst still a schoolboy he made a dozen appearances for the club's U-18 team, though quite a number of them, were off the bench. This season, his assignments to play in the team have occurred solely in a starting role. It does seem the club coaching staff have a high regard of the skills he possesses as he has also had some exposure to playing in U-23 development football, featuring a few times in the games played by that team. He has also impressed national coaches and was selected in the schoolboy squad that competed in the 2018/19 Victory Shield tournament. Siyabonga is seemingly a candidate that could provide much benefit for both club and country in times ahead.

    Luc Noble (Bristol Rovers)
    Captaining the Wales schoolboy team in the games they played during the 2017/18 season, Luc continued in the same role as the group moved into U-17 eligibility last season. Now in his second season as a scholar at Rovers, he has been playing regularly for the club's U-18 team for the past two seasons as well as being increasingly involved with the older group development team over the time period. He was the recipient of a lot of praise in the match report of a game played by the Bristol Rovers U-18 team in December. It concerned the third round tie of the FA Youth Cup with Southampton being the opponents. Though defeated, it was a strong performance by the Rovers team as they forced The Saints to compete at the peak of their ability to earn the victory. Luc was credited as one whose ability shone brightly in tough circumstances. He will certainly be hoping that he can have an opportunity to represent Wales again at some point in the future, adding to those numerous caps already in his possession.

    John Jones

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    Posted: Monday 30th March 2020
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