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    YOUNG GUNS BLOG UPDATE

     

    Young Guns Blog by John Jones.

    Matthew Blake, Ben Cabango, Alex Lang, Tom Price (Swansea City)
    Four players who have played in almost every game for the Swansea U-18 team this season and unless unavailable due to injury, will most likely continue to be an important part of it for the remaining games to be contested. All also played a significant number of matches for the team last season. At some point between now and the end of the season, they will be told whether they will be offered an opportunity to remain as part of the club staff beyond that time. As second year scholars, their eligibility for the U-18 team will come to an end and so the next part of their careers will be as part of the U-23 squad if they are to remain as professional footballers in a full time capacity. As it will be for second year scholars at all clubs the approach of the end of the season becomes increasingly nerve wracking as they await being informed of the management decisions regarding their future. As it has been throughout the time when clubs have employed youth team players, the attrition rate at this point in a football career is a high percentage statistic. It is not necessarily the end of the road for a scholar rejected by their parent club as other league clubs could possibly offer an opportunity to join them. Again, it is only a small proportion of players that get the chance to explore another avenue to proceed toward a successful career. Any speculation as regards to how it unfolds for these four young men is impossible to contemplate as so many variables are involved. To their credit is an acknowledgement that they have the ability to perform in a Swansea team playing against the very best youth teams as opponents. Having been promoted at the end of last season, Swansea are now members of the top division of the Premier League youth system and have produced creditable performances in this new environment. Of course, the club will only have a small number of vacancies needing to be filled in their U-23 squad. For the vast majority of scholars, their next stop is as a member of a team in the part time game and though some could have a revival of their careers in this way, this does not happen in any significant way for almost all of them.

    Aaron Collins (Wolverhampton Wanderers on loan at Newport County)
    It is a case of a return to familiar surroundings for Aaron as he has been recruited by Newport on a loan arrangement for the remainder of the season. It was with the Rodney Parade club that he started his career, impressing during his time as a youth player to secure a professional contract. In his second season in that status, he caught the attention of many with strong displays, Wolves stepping in ahead of their rivals as they negotiated his transfer during the January window. Progress has not been as may have been anticipated for Aaron since the time of his transfer, remaining involved with the U-23 team at the club excepting for times when he was out on loan. The move to South Wales could provide Aaron with the opportunity to feature in some play at League level. It will not be easily accomplished as County already had a strong contingent of attacking players before he became additive to it so he will need to make a good impression to warrant playing time. Hopefully he can provide material for mention in other young gun blogs in the weeks ahead.

    Luke Jephcott (Plymouth Argyle)
    A second year scholar at the Home Park club, Luke is a regular member of the U-18 team which is still involved in the FA Youth Cup as it moves toward its latter stages. They have a home tie against Fulham in the fifth round, a place in the last 8 of the competition the reward for the winner. It is not particularly unusual for a less heralded team to reach such stages of the competition as the luck of the draw keeps them from meeting stronger opponents. This has not been the case for Plymouth as they met the previous season's beaten finalists in a 3rd round home tie. Manchester City were the visitors as a 120 minutes of goalless football was played before victory was secured in a penalty shoot out. Next came an away trip to Burnley, a solitary goal the margin that secured the defeat of another Premier League outfit.

    [photo embedded from Propaganda-Photo.com]

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