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YOUNG GUNS BLOG UPDATE


Young Guns Blog by John Jones.

Joe Adams (Bury)
A few words of mention for Joe to congratulate him on his Football League debut. It is certainly turning out to be something of a whirlwind season for this first year scholar who has already had a couple of mentions in young gun blogs over the last few months. Coming on as a substitute with almost 20 minutes of the game remaining, shows that it was more than a token gesture. With Bury now contemplating League 2 football next season, future planning comes to the fore and Joe must be one they feel can help turn their fortunes around. Hopefully they are correct and then, not only will the club, but the Welsh football teams will be beneficiaries.

Jack Bodenham (Cardiff City)
Captain and an ever present in the Cardiff U-18 team this season, it has been a busy season for Jack as he comes to the completion of his time as a youth player at the capital city club. Additive to this were appearances for the Wales U-19 team earlier in the season as well as an introduction to U-23 club football lately. On the assumption that he will be offered a chance to remain at the club, U-23 involvement is what his next step will be. Although by this time of the season, decisions regarding development players have usually been determined, I have not seen an announcement from the Cardiff City Stadium to verify if this is so. It can therefore only be a guess on my part that Jack seems to have done well enough and be deemed worthy of an offer to move on to establish a professional status at the club.

Tom James (Yeovil Town)
After a somewhat stellar last season as a youth player at Cardiff, what seemed to be developing into a very promising career went into a stuttering phase. This was certainly not helped by frequent managerial changes at the club as well as some injury issues. His move to Yeovil in the middle of last season gave promise of a chance to relaunch a path forward in the world of professional football. He had been a regularly good or even better performer in the Cardiff U-23 team for many months and it was surprising that for the remainder of the season he was little used, mainly remaining on the bench for Yeovilís games. It must have been a needed period of adjustment as, since the early few games when the Yeovil team struggled and various options were tried, he has been in the team for all the games when available this season. Not only that, but he has been rewarded with a good amount of praise for his performances. This has lead to suggestions that his time in Somerset may possibly be coming to an end, as various Championship clubs are thought to be strongly considering a summer bid to acquire his services. If it materializes and Tom shows adeptness at Championship football, he will surely be a strong candidate for a place in the Wales U-21 team after being a standby designee this season.

Regan Poole (Manchester United Ė on loan at Northampton Town)
Having been loaned out to Northampton for the season, it has almost been a tale of two halves during it for Regan. Used mainly as a defensive midfielder but also with a run of games in a central defensive role, he was used quite frequently until February when he dropped out of the matchday squad and has only made one appearance since that time. With the Cobblers in the relegation spots, the manager at the time decided not to use him in the attempt to improve results. This was unsuccessful, and a managerial change ensued, but other than in one game, he has been out in the cold after the change. A quote mentioning his very good attitude in training despite his lack of use is certainly to his credit. It is disappointing that his time at the Sixfields Stadium has not been as successful as may have been hoped. It had been anticipated that he could exhibit being ready to embrace the challenge of football at higher levels, but maybe those hopes are a little faded at this time. Of course, one must concede that he is still a few weeks short of reaching his 20th birthday and in that respect, time is still on his side. Being versatile is undoubtedly a testament of the skills a player possesses, yet it can be cited as having delayed, or even been a detriment to, full progress in some past cases. It would possibly benefit Regan to concentrate on one position. We shall have to wait and see if he can eventually become the top class player, that many who witnessed his displays at Newport, predicted as the pinnacle that was within his capability.

Pablo Martinez (West Bromwich Albion)
Pablo joined West Brom. as a first year scholar prior to the start of the season and has gone on to become a regular member of the U-18 team at the club. An indication as to how the staff at the Hawthorns regard his progress is that he has also already had a couple of games in the U-23 side, usually not a normal expectation for a young player. His introduction into the awareness of Wales fans of his eligibility, came when he was a member of the national U-17 squad last season. This season he moved into the U-19ís and having played in the autumn and during the Croatia training camp, will surely be selected for the upcoming Slovakia Cup games and be an important part of the squad for next seasonís European qualification matches. If he continues his upward trend in the seemingly rapid fashion he has been exhibiting so far, then Spain, for whom he also has eligibility, could be tempted to make a bid to gain his services.

Matt Smith (Manchester City)
Although he is coming to the end of his time as a scholar and consequently his eligibility for the U-18ís, Matt has had almost no involvement with that team this season. It is at U-19 and U-23 level football that he has been utilized by the club as a regular performer in those teams. The next step is into the ranks of the full time professionals and though I cannot confirm it is so, it seems inconceivable that City would not want to retain his service. Matt has also played for the Wales U-21 team this season, another step above where most of his peers would get consideration for national involvement. He is certainly fully ticking the boxes of any grading system that might be used to monitor his progress and so the question to be posed is what the future will entail. As anyone who knows football, an impossibility to give any meaningful answer to. He is at a club which abounds with the highest quality players and the means to purchase those that hold that rating not already engaged by them. The preference is to develop from within and there does not seem to be a reason to say that Matt cannot reach first team football at the Etihad. The competition is fierce and so what we can say is that if Matt realizes this goal, Wales will have a player that will be the envy of many opposing sides. As always, we need the patience to see what transpires, knowing that he will only reach the heights with a continuation of, and maybe even to an increased intensity, the dedicated and determined attitude that has propelled him along the way thus far. As for all young guns, we wish him all the good fortune possible in attaining this quest.

[photo embedded from faw.cymru]

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Posted: Wednesday 25th April 2018
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