| ||Young Guns Blog by John Jones|
page updated: Fri, 18 Mar 22 : 05:20 : refresh for updates
To read all last season blog posts scroll through posts on the young guns page
Ryan Bassett and Kai Ludvigsen (Swansea City) born 2004, Defenders.
Both Ryan and Kai are second year scholars with the Swans. Ryan was with Carmarthen as a youngster and Swansea signed him to become a member of their youth squad. He has played on a fairly regular basis for the U-18 team for the past two seasons. Kai started playing for the U-18 team when he was an academy player at the club and made a half dozen appearances in that abbreviated 2019/20 season. Last season, the coaching staff decided to expedite his progress in the development system and so he played in six games for the U-23 team as well as doing so for the U-18’s. This season, Kai has been missing from the teams for a large part of it, I am assuming it was some sort of injury issue. He has been back playing regularly for the U-18’s since the turn of the year and will hopefully remain available for the remainder of the season. Kai has played for Wales teams throughout his time as a schoolboy and was a member of the successful 2019/20 Victory Shield team. There were of course no competitive games for the U-17’s last season, he did attend the spring training camp that was organized for the group. Ryan has also been involved with Wales as a schoolboy, playing in the 2018 Cymru Cup games.
Jacob Dennis (Cardiff City) born 2004, Goalkeeper.
A first year scholar with the Bluebirds, Jacob started playing for the U-18 team last season when he made a couple of appearances. This season, he has made the stopper spot in the team his own and has played in all but two games. To the best of my knowledge, Jacob has not played for any Wales teams up to this stage in his career, but if he continues presenting the strong impression he is making at Cardiff, he will likely become a candidate before too long. I’m sure that the national coaching staff are already aware of his progress and although there is a good amount of talented goalkeepers in their age group, he is amongst those who will be vetted for consideration. For the time being, I’m sure Jacob’s main intent is to continue doing well at club level and do all he can to become a fulltime professional with them.
Evan Ovendale (Newport County) born 2004, Goalkeeper.
In his second season as a scholar with County, Evan has been the regular keeper for their U-18 team this season after being mostly on the bench last season. He has been performing well this season and has had five occasions on the bench for the first team as well as his duties for the youth team. His first was for the first round Carabao Cup game at the start of the season and then for all three Papa John’s Trophy matches that the team played. His latest outing was for a League 2 game at the beginning of this year. Evan will now be hoping that he has exhibited enough quality to be retained by the club beyond the end of this season and will anxiously be anticipating that it is good news he hears when those decisions are announced.
Lewis Ridd (Ipswich Town - On loan at Bury Town) born 2004, Goalkeeper.
Ipswich signed Lewis as a member of their scholar programme prior to the start of last season. He has been playing regularly for their U-18 team during that time and has also played once for their U-23 team this season as well as being on the bench a few times. Earlier in the season he was loaned to AFC Sudbury for a short period and is similarly doing so at Bury Town at present. This has given him the opportunity to experience first team football. As a schoolboy, Lewis was affiliated with the Afan Lido academy teams and played in the 2018 Cymru Cup games. Last season, he was in the group selected for the spring U-17 training camp and then this season played for the U-19 team in the preliminary round of the European qualifiers. He has been selected for the U-18 squad that will play in a couple of friendly matches against Finland later this month.
Luke Southerington (Oldham Athletic) born 2004, Goalkeeper.
After a few years as an academy player with the club, Luke began his time as a scholar with them at the start of this season. In October, shortly after celebrating his seventeenth birthday in late September, Luke signed a new contract with Oldham and although I cannot find a definitive description, I believe it was to become a professional with them. Since that time, Luke has been on the bench on twelve occasions for the first team. Although triggered by an injury situation, it does show that the management team had a strong confidence in Luke’s ability for the selection to be made. Luke has not had any involvement with Wales teams and as the notation in front of his name indicates, an official confirmation of his eligibility will be needed before he can do so.
George Walters (Burnley) born 2004, Forward.
As a schoolboy, George was a member of the Manchester United academy for a number of years before joining Burnley and becoming a scholar with them at the start of last season. He has been playing for their U-18 team since that time and this season has made appearances in all but two of their games. George has had some injury issues that have unfortunately interrupted his career at times. He was a member of the 2018/19 Wales Victory Shield squad, all of whom but he, were 2003 birth year boys. Although still eligible to continue in the team the following season, he was absent, and I assume injury made him unavailable for selection. For the present, George will be hoping that he has impressed enough for the Burnley management team to retain his services and allow him to play for the club’s U-23 team next season.
Ethan Young (Scunthorpe United) born 2004, Defender.
In his second year as a scholar, Ethan has continued developing his abilities as a central defender well enough to be seemingly very close to making his first team debut for the club. He first impressed in his last year as an academy player and at that time started playing in games for the U-18 team. Moving on to become a scholar at the start of last season, he secured a regular place in the team and became the defensive lynchpin the team relied upon. In January, Ethan was selected in the first team squad for a league game and with three more bench assignments in recent games, it does look as though he will be soon given an opportunity to be tested at that level. Ethan is yet another of the many new names that have come to light this season and I’m sure the Wales coaching staff will be closely monitoring his progress.
page posted Fri, 11 Mar 22 : 05:20 : refresh for updates
[ photo embedded from FAW cymru ]