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    Young Guns update


    Young Guns by John Jones.

    I had the pleasure of attending the Wales U-21 match versus Denmark which was played at the Racecourse ground in Wrexham on Friday September 2nd. Though it was very much a pleasure for me to finally witness live all of these young men which I have followed in print for a number of years, it was quite a disappointment both in terms of the result and the manner in which the opposition was by quite some margin superior to the Welsh lads.

        The 4-0 scoreline cannot be described as anything other than well deserved, an indication of the gap in quality of performance between the two team displays. I have to admit that it is not really viable to make a judgement based on watching one live game and those who have a deeper knowledge than me could possibly describe it as a collective bad day at the office for the group, I will however give what I perceive as an insight as to what the future may hold based on what I witnessed. I do this with the intent of providing constructive criticism as best that I can, as I do really wish the very best for all these players.

        Moving on to what should be more pertinent for this piece, here are some of my observances. As an extension of my wish for success for every Wales team I certainly could see some small glimmers of silver linings amongst the dark clouds of a comprehensive defeat. There were glimpses of the technical ability of many of the players which is certainly encouraging from the perspective of a Wales supporter. Where that admission gives credit for what these players have achieved to this point, they are obviously considered skilled footballers to have put themselves in their various situations, I would say that they need to hone their skills even further if they possess any real ambition of continuing toward senior international involvement. This is of course what they do on a daily basis as part of their occupational vocation but I am going to suggest that they probably need to even give some added emphasis in addition to this “work”. It is not an easy task that I am proposing but I think that I can also discuss from a personal perspective that as you look back and concede that one did not give their utmost in the effort to achieve one’s desired goal, there is a danger of regret but of course by that time it is too late.

        Trying to be brief in the description of the differences between the two sets of players I would suggest the following areas as where there could be a beneficial improvement with a concerted effort to eliminate/reduce the deficiencies.

        There was noticeable size difference between the teams and so the Welsh players were much more often than not bullied by the opposition when challenging for loose balls. This was particularly evident in attacking airal situations and as there was no significant age difference, this is what the Welsh lads will be faced with against any similarly sized opposition. They need to figure a way in which they can at least be more competitive in such situations.

        Both sides exhibited some good close control touches but again the Danish players coped a good deal better in pressure situations, shielding the ball more efficiently and being in a more composed situation to move it on to relieve pressure on themselves. This led to a much better passing phase of the game by the Danes, the weight of the pass and the path of the ball toward a team mate being much superior.

        Reading of the game and consequently anticipation of interceptions as well as the appropriate movement of the ball to put pressure on the opposition was conducted in a noticeably different capacity between the two teams.

        There is a concession that Wales were challenged by a very good opposing team in this game but I think I am correct in assuming that there are even better, or at least equivalent teams than/to Denmark in this age group. As I understand, they also had the advantage of playing together in the recent Olympic competition and so the odds were somewhat stacked in their favour.

        My motivation for writing this, is the wish for a continuing success for all Wales teams in tandem with the hobby/passion/obsession (only others can assess what it is) I have for the assessment of what the future may hold by reading all I can find about players from all the age groups. Though I do get (and have had) almost as much pleasure of doing this in private, I also enjoy writing and consequently sharing my thoughts through making it available in print. The effort to do so is only worthwhile if it gives some satisfaction for the reader.

        Finally, with no ability to be brief or succinct I need to finish my effort with a conclusion. I apologize to anyone that feels that my view is an unfair reflection of a person’s ability, my intention is much more to be an influence of motivating improvement than being a critic. This is based on seeing enough positives to believe that it can be achieved if desired. The desire will need to be supplemented by dedication and almost certainly sacrifice. .

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    Posted: Monday 5th September 2016
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