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    Young Guns Blog index


    Young Guns Blog by John Jones

    page updated: Sat, 10 Dec 22 : 09:38  refresh for updates

    To read all last season blog posts scroll through posts on the young guns page

    Calum Agius (Crewe Alexandra) born 2005, Midfielder.
    Last season came to an end in the early weeks of it for Calum, as a serious injury he sustained required months of recovery and rehabilitation. At that time, he was still a member of the Crewe academy and this season he has become a scholar at the club. He is undoubtedly an important member of the club’s U-18 team, but the coaches have also exposed him to the next level of development football, and he has played quite a few games for the U-21 team. The plan will, I’m sure, be to continue his involvement at that level as much as possible in order to enhance the chances of having him ready for potential first team participation as quickly as can be achieved. Calum’s national team affiliation stretches back to his early schoolboy days, and he played in the 2019 Cymru Cup games. After playing for the U-15 team in the 2019/20 season, there was no opportunity to play at U-16 level for him as the Victory Shield competition had to be suspended during pandemic restrictions. He did play in a friendly game for the U-17 team at the start of last season and would certainly have been a strong candidate for more caps at that level had the injury not prevented its possibility. More than likely, he will have further Welsh representation as we move into the future.

    Jonathan Bland (Barnsley) born 2005, Defender.
    A member of the West Bromwich Albion academy as a schoolboy, Jonathan did not receive an offer to become a scholar at the club. He therefore moved on to join Barnsley last season and is now a first year scholar at the Yorkshire club. He had bench time as well as playing some minutes for their U-18 team last season and then this season has been a regular starter for them, in fact playing in all of their games so far. He has also done well enough to get some involvement with the U-21 side and has made one appearance off the bench for them. He will surely be keen to be elevated to that next phase of development as much as possible during the remainder of the season. Jonathan was first selected to join Wales teams when he played for the U-15’s in the 2019/20 season. He was then a member of what was a mixed 2005/ 2006 U-16 squad that played in a friendly against England at the end of the 2020/21 season. Although nothing has officially been announced at this time, I’m pretty sure that there will be some games for the U-18 team later in the season, and he will certainly be amongst the candidates considered for selection when a squad is convened.

    Iwan Morgan (Swansea City) born 2006, Forward.
    Although this is the first season for Iwan to be a scholar at Swansea, his is a name that has been familiar to those who pay attention to those players in the club’s U-18 team for quite some time. He played in over half of their games in the 2020/21 season and then it increased to almost three quarters last season as he completed his time as an academy player. In his first season for the team, he scored three times in over a dozen games and then last season was by a considerable margin the leading scorer with a dozen in twenty games. He has shown this season that he is becoming increasingly adept at that level of football and very much a leading player for the team by scoring a dozen goals in playing in all but one of their fourteen games to this point. A phenomenal rate of averaging very nearly one a game. His next objective will be to achieve similar feats in the next step of development with the U-21 team. He has been given a bit of an introduction with one start along with another appearance off the bench but is yet to score for the U-21’s. Of course, there will be a need for him to improve his game as he plays in an increased quality of football in general as well as against the better abilities of his direct opponents, but his exploits so far seem to suggest the possibility of his success even against tougher opposition. He will delight many fans if he can produce those performances. As a schoolboy, Iwan has been involved with Wales teams and was a member of the mixed 2005/2006 squad in 2021. He is eligible for the U-17’s this season but was not in the squad that qualified from the preliminary round of the European championships. He will, however, have another opportunity, as the coaches decide on the selections for the squad that compete in the elite qualification round next spring.

    Tanatswa Nyakuhwa (Cardiff City) born 2005, Forward.
    A lengthy association with the club’s academy teams after having joined as a seven year old was completed with a successful acquisition of a scholar contract by Tan. Now in the first season of that part of his career, he has been playing regularly for the U-18 team after having been introduced to that level of football last season with mainly a few substitute appearances. A winger who manages to create havoc for the opposition both with his scoring prowess and creating assists for his teammates to do so, he is in fact the leading scorer for the team at this moment, having scored seven times in his twelve starts. This continues his good form from last season when he scored seventeen times for the U-16 team as well as having ten assists accredited to his name. He will obviously want to continue this trend as he performs in development football and become another of the many young players at the club that show a potential of becoming important first team players. After being in the group that contested the 2019 Cymru Cup games, Tan played for last season’s Wales U-17 team that competed in the preliminary phase of their age group European competition.

    Tom Stokes (Newport County) born 2005, Forward.
    As an academy player with them, Tom made appearances for the Swansea City U-18 team when introduced off the bench in a couple of games. It was, however, Newport that offered him a chance of a scholarship and so he signed in the summer of 2021. He quickly made a good impression at the club, has been playing regularly for their U-18 team and has also been given a little introduction to first team football circumstances. Last season, he was on the bench for a Papa John’s Trophy game and earlier this season was identically selected for a league game as well as in two Carabao Cup matches. These occurrences did not translate into an opportunity for his first team debut but do indicate the coaching staff’s appreciation of his quality. Tom will now hope that this opinion will provide a positive decision in the next few months, as the question of prolonging his stay beyond the time of playing youth football arises, when the season’s compilation of retained players is addressed. As a schoolboy, Tom played for the Wales U-15 team in the 2019/20 season and then, as with his group, there was no opportunity to do so as an U-16. He has not had any further involvement up to this point.

    This will be my last blog until the first week of 2023 as we now get into the final few days before the start of the festive season. I will therefore wish all of you a Very Merry Christmas along with a Happy New Year when it arrives. 2022 will certainly be a difficult proposition to be usurped as a year when there were incredibly joyous occasions for us followers of Welsh football, but I think that more celebrations are waiting to be enjoyed. 2023 will in my estimation, be the start of the next phase of some exciting times for us to cheer loudly about. Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda, ry’n ni Yma o Hyd. Borrowing a famous phrase from the past, “We shall never surrender”. In this instance, I refer to our beloved Welsh heritage and the fondest of regards we have for it.

    [ photo embedded from FAW cymru ]

    Posted: Friday 16th December 2022
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