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YOUNG GUNS BLOG UPDATE

 

Young Guns Blog by John Jones.

Alex Babos (Derby County)

Admittedly, a very new name for me, my first knowledge of his eligibility for Wales was to see his name mentioned when he was called up as a replacement player into the U-23 squad. Judging from what has appeared as quotes from those who have witnessed his play, he seems to be another good addition to the squad. Now captain of the Ram's U-23's, in his second year of involvement with that team and apparently an influential figure in the side his status as a leader would suggest. He remained on the bench as the Wales U-23 team produced a rather disappointing couple of displays in what had been hoped would be a good haul of points in the home fixtures of their qualification matches. Not surprising, as the team has previously fared well and those that have generally provided the impetus for the team were the ones selected for those two games. I am sure that Alex will become increasingly under consideration for first team exposure at the Pride Park club if he can continue his progression of good form, should the situation develop in that way, then Wales U-23 caps and maybe more would surely follow.

Robbie Burton (Arsenal)
Robbie very recently returned into action with the Arsenal teams when he came off the bench, playing the last half hour or so during the club's U-18 game in a victorious effort versus Norwich, as those two teams contested their U-18 Premier League match. He had been absent from any line ups that I had been able to locate for some weeks and an assumption that he was unavailable through injury is my supposition. A couple of days after that, he was again on the bench, this time as the U-23's travelled to South Wales to play Swansea. He did not have any participatory role in that match. Robbie played for the Wales U-19 team during their friendly encounters with Iceland, but was missing from the subsequent games against Switzerland as well as the squad that participated in the European qualification group matches. I would hazard a guess that he was unavailable at that time. Now going into the last months of his time as a scholar, he will be anxiously waiting to be informed if Arsenal will be extending his time at the club beyond the end of the season. Hopefully, he can stay at full fitness in order to give himself the best opportunity to persuade those that make the decision, one that will be favourable for his future in football.

Oliver Cooper, Mason Jones-Thomas and Joe Lewis (Swansea City)
A trio who represented Wales in this season's U-19 matches as well as being regulars in the Swansea U-18 team. Oliver and Joe are in their second season with the team and will come to the end of their scholar contract when the present season draws to a close. Mason has a birthdate in late 2000 and so will have a further year of eligibility in youth football. The U-18's, having secured promotion to compete against the best teams at this level are, nevertheless, having a reasonably successful season so far. It does suggest that there is a talented group of players in the club's youth system, indicating a professional football career is likely within reach for some members. I have mentioned with some frequency at the difficulty of attaining such an objective in the past and will leave that issue with only this brief reference. As the vast majority of the players in the developmental squads at Swansea are Welsh, it is a hope, continued success, maybe even to greater levels, can be anticipated as a future outcome.

Daniel Mooney (Fleetwood Town)
A member of the Wales U-19 squads that have been assembled this season, this being my first awareness of Daniel when called up in those instances. As a result, I have scant information that can be conveyed about him. Graduating from the youth system at the club in the summer, he secured a professional contract with them and is presently out on loan at nearby club Bamber Bridge, accumulating experience in first team football.

James Spruce (Bristol Rovers)
James, was likewise a new name when appearing in the early season Welsh U-19 squad announcements and then featured quite prominently in the starting line ups as the team played the friendly and competitive games. Still in the youth team at the Memorial Stadium club, he gained a good amount of praise even though it was a loss, after the FA Youth Cup match against Oxford United.

Momodou Touray (Newport County)
A player who performed so well during a loan period at Merthyr Town, it earned him selection for Wales U-19, initially for the friendlies against Switzerland then retaining his place in the squad when it travelled for the European qualifying tournament. A return to his home club, possibly a little sooner than anticipated as a result of  Merthyr's financial crunch, was rewarded with a place on the bench in a League 2 game, his first such involvement with the senior side other than during pre-season preparation matches.

Josh Williams (Aston Villa)
Though his birth place is recorded as St. Asaph, Josh has spent his childhood years in Staffordshire where Aston Villa became aware of his footballing talent. An association with the club was started from this point and during his time as a schoolboy there was invited to Wales training camps as they formulated the Victory Shield squad for the 1999 birth year group. A representative appearance for the country finally arrived when he played in the U-19 team who competed in Turkey recently. Josh, a regular in the Aston Villa U-18 team this season after also making a number of appearances during the previous one will be a candidate for consideration to receive a professional contract as his time as a scholar ends in the coming summer.

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Posted: Tuesday 28th November 2017
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