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       Latest Young guns blog by John Jones

    Morgan Clarke (Swansea City) Midfielder, born 2002
    Morgan had what must be described as a very successful season in his first year as a scholar with the Swans. He played in most of the games the U-18 team contested and may have added to the tally but seemingly was unavailable for selection from mid-January onwards. Added to his achievements at U-18 level were his occasional inclusions in U-23 matchday squads and he was introduced off the bench to experience competition at that level a couple of times. The Swansea staff must have a strong confidence in his ability and want to accelerate the development of his skills with differing challenges. 

    Tom Davies (Shrewsbury Town) Defender, born 2001
    In his two seasons as a scholar at Shrewsbury, Tom has been a regular member of their U-18 team as well as being utilized on occasion to play for the older group development team in games they contested in their league and cup competitions. Praised for his qualities and the composure he provides for teams in his central defensive role, Tom has been doing well as he negotiated a path toward the development of his career as a fulltime professional. His hope going forward will be for a favourable decision from the Shrewsbury management team regarding the retention of his services beyond the present season.

    Pablo Martinez (West Bromwich Albion) Defender, born 2000
    Joining West Brom at the start of his time as a scholar after previously having been an academy player at Reading, Pablo certainly impressed the coaches of his new team during the two seasons of eligibility as a youth player. He was not only a regular inclusion in the U-18 team for both seasons but was also selected for the U-23 team, playing in quite a few games as well as other times when he was available on the bench. It was therefore hardly surprising that the club extended his time with them and he moved into the U-23 squad for this season. What has not developed as one may have expected has been the frequency of involvement with the U-23 team this season and the low number of appearances he has accumulated. I cannot provide an explanation as I have not been able to ascertain the reason. I do suspect a possibility of some injury issues that may have created an amount of unavailability. When Pablo was affiliated with Reading, he represented Wales at U-17 level.

    Nathan Shepperd (Brentford) Goalkeeper, born 2000
    After spending some years with their academy and then two seasons as a scholar at Swansea, Nathan's association with the club came to an end as last season was completed. A move to the London area was his next destination, as Brentford signed him in the summer of 2019 and he became a member of their development squad. Pleasing for both himself and the coaches at the club, he played in almost all of the games that team played during the season. Nathan was an attendee at training camps for Wales teams, but inclusion in a squad selected for international matches eluded him. That anomaly was changed when news of a notification his name was amongst those selected for the national U-21 squad was made available. Though cancellation of the matches occurred before an official announcement of the squad, it was still a positive event for him, one that was similarly reflected by his club coaches, whose comments mentioned it was deserving for both his impressive displays and discipline of effort exhibited as he continually strives to improve on his present qualities.

    Ryan Reynolds, Midfielder and Danny Williams, Forward (Cardiff City) both born 2000
    Ryan is in his first season as a fulltime professional with Cardiff after having completed his time as a scholar. Last season he was credited as being an important contributor for the Wales U-19 team, captaining the side as they successfully progressed from the preliminary stage of the UEFA competition. Injury not long after that time interrupted most of the remainder of the season. After playing a couple of times for the Cardiff U-23 team in the very early season, he was loaned to Welsh Premier League side Penybont, but has not seemingly had much involvement in their team. Danny was signed by Cardiff in January 2019 after having been a prolific scorer for Cymru South members, Haverfordwest County. He has been a member of the U-23 squad since that time and has played in more than a dozen games for them as he adjusts to the demands of fulltime football.

    Elliot Thorpe (Tottenham Hotspur) Forward, born 2000
    In his first year as a fulltime professional at Spurs, Elliot has made a few appearances for the club's U-23 team, also playing for the U-21 team entered in the EFL Trophy competition. It was not too dissimilar to the previous seasons, during the time spent as a scholar and playing for the U-18 team. Obviously, Elliot's qualities must have impressed management enough for them to retain his services, a sort of decision not taken without good reason to do so. A couple of seasons ago, Elliot was capped by Wales when he played for the U-17 team.

    Max Williams (Salford City) Goalkeeper, born 2003

    As a youngster, Max was affiliated with the Wrexham academy for some years before moving on to join Salford in 2019. He is a first year scholar at the club and has regularly played for their U-18 team as well as also gaining experience of U-23 football on occasion in what seems to have been a very successful season for him. Not surprising, the high quality of his talent has been evident for some time, representing Wales in his years as a schoolboy and then this season at U-17 level. He may well become the last line of defence for the Wales senior team at some point in the future.

    page originally posted: Tue, 5 May 20 refresh for updates

    [ photo embedded from FAW cymru ] 

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    Posted: Tuesday 5th May 2020
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