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    Young Guns Blog by John Jones.

    Joe Adams (Bury)
    It was quite an interesting season for Joe as he proceeded from leaving school to join the Bury youth set up in the summer of 2017. Within a few weeks of starting his 2-year scholar tenure came the squad selection for the Wales U-17's and the subsequent trip to Hungary in the UEFA qualifying round of matches for that age group. As the season progressed it became apparent that Joe was also impressing his club management as he became part of the first team matchday squads for the last half dozen games of the season. Most of that time was spent on the bench but he did amass a small amount of time experiencing League 1 football. As the club started the new season in League 2, Joe was not involved with the first team squad though he did get quite a bit of exposure with them in pre-season games. He was in Spain with the youth team as they prepared for their new season. Probably a prudent move to allow him some playing time within his age group where he has shown his quality and a continuation in that manner will produce the opportunities for increasingly being considered for first team duty as the season progresses.

    Mark Harris (Cardiff City on loan at Newport County)
    The arrangement for Mark to spend the season on loan at County gives him the chance to gain valuable first team experience, hopefully he will do so in a successful manner and it will provide an important impetus to his career. Having sampled a small amount of Championship playing time he remained as a viable candidate for further first team involvement with Cardiff, but the success of the team in gaining promotion kept him on the very fringe of the squad. With a Premier League challenge ahead for the club, it further reduced the possibilities. Mark has shown he has quality as well as a tremendous work ethic in matches, this making him a desirable commodity in the modern game. His best attribute for gaining regular time in a high level of football is his goal scoring ability, maintaining or even improving this record will be an essential part of development. A positive period at the Rodney Parade club would be beneficial for all, including the national teams.

    Daniel James (Swansea City)
    It was certainly a tale of 2 halves when reviewing how last season unfolded for Dan. He returned to Swansea and U-23 football when a loan arrangement with Shrewsbury was terminated much earlier than planned. Injuries then severely curtailed his playing time until into the new year, but once back to fitness was able to impress the coaching staff. This earned him a spot on the bench for Swansea's FA Cup matches and substitution into the games. Senior team game time was a platform for him test his talent at a new level and he did not disappoint, a goal scoring debut added to his resume of achievements. Dan will now want to build on that success as Swansea readjust to Championship football. This may provide the opportunity for some of the more promising young players at the club to be considered for first team duty. It would be very difficult to dispute that his technical ability is insufficient for the demands that players selected for the first team will require this season, what will also need demonstrating is a capability of not being overwhelmed by the physicality of match conditions. His slight frame is a temptation for opponents to test his resolve, using his talent to force defending adversaries onto the backfoot could well be the key to getting the upper hand on them.

    Tom James (Yeovil Town)
    For a large part of the off season, it seemed likely that the Huish Park faithful would be contemplating who the club would insert as Tom's replacement for the first game of the season. According to the speculative news regarding transfers, numerous clubs were purported to be likely to bid for his services. Eventually, it was West Brom who emerged as the club which Tom would join, a fee was agreed upon to secure his services. The move however did not proceed to completion and so the Somerset club kicked off its campaign with Tom's name still on the team sheet. A red card in that game meant his absence from the next one but then Tom will want to build on the reputation he secured last season and help Yeovil gain successful results as this one progresses. Not only would it please his club fans, it would probably also get him strong consideration for an inclusion in the Wales U-21 squad. It would also likely keep the interest high amongst clubs in the Championship that decide an upgrade in their defensive needs should be addressed when the January transfer window business is contemplated. As it stands, it does seem inevitable that Tom will ply his trade in more demanding circumstances in the future.

    Joe Morrell (Bristol City)
    The possibility of a repeat circumstance resembling last season, is a likely scenario for Joe as the weeks ahead unfold. The quality of his talent and his willingness to exert himself in pursuit of improving his game is highly valued by the club management. Last season, a settled first team unit producing good results suggested that only very limited playing time would be available for those players on the periphery of the City squad.  It was deemed the most logical decision for Joe to garner valuable first team experience would be allowing a loan arrangement to take place. This proved to be a fruitful choice, the time spent assisting Cheltenham showed him capable of performing very well at League 2 level and he thrilled their fans with impressive displays, adding some memorable goals as well as exhibiting his creative talent. Pre-season preparations has again involved Joe in first team games, but a desire to see him build further on the wonderful achievements of last season could be persuasive in a decision to seek another suitable loan situation to facilitate it. There will undoubtedly be plenty of admirers of his skills anxious to gain his assistance for their team. He will in the meantime, remain an integral part of the Wales U-21 squad and add more minutes those many amassed proudly wearing the national shirt in various age group matches. With time on his side and an already exhibited ability and resolve, he has the potential to continue improving and possibly wearing the senior team shirt at some point in the future.

    [photo embedded from FAW Cymru]

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    Posted: Wednesday 15th August 2018
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