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    YOUNG GUNS BLOG


    page originally posted : Sun, 5 Jan 20
    Young Guns






    Sam Bowen (Cardiff City)
    Sam, who has been associated with the club from a very young age, has progressed through the various academy and youth teams and is now a fulltime professional at the club after completing his time as a scholar at the end of last season. This season he has been playing on a regular basis for the club's U-23 team, gaining valuable experience in the next step of development football. As was the case last season and a continuation from his time wearing the national colours as a schoolboy and U-17, he is a member of the Wales U-19 squad and played in the qualification games in which the team impressively secured the top spot in the group and moved on to compete in the spring elite qualification games. Having also reached that stage of the competition last season, I'm sure he and the others will be doing their utmost to avoid repeating the disappointment of elimination, although it has to be acknowledged that it is a very tough task and would be a massive achievement to progress to the finals. Sam not only has the motivation to match the best of his peers but also that of his father who played first team football for Cardiff City for a number of seasons, as well as gaining national caps. An emulation of those feats would be welcomed by fans of both club and country.

    Lewis Collins (Newport County)
    There can be little doubt that the management staff at the Rodney Parade club view the talent that Lewis possesses as one that can be beneficial for Newport. Securing his services with a professional contract for a couple of years after the completion of his time as a scholar last season is an example of that opinion. He had been briefly introduced to the demands of first team football in the previous couple of seasons with involvement in some EFL Trophy matches along with an occasional assignment on the bench. This season has seen him make his first team debut in a league match with a brief introduction off the bench in an early season match and then quite a bit more bench time and a couple of lengthier appearances lately. Building on this experience will hopefully see him get a starting assignment as the season progresses. Performing in such circumstances would enhance his chances of returning to the Wales U-19 squad in the spring. He was a member of the squad last season and made a strong contribution towards the success of the team in the preliminary round qualification matches. He was however unavailable through injury at the time of the elite round of matches. Although he did have some involvement in some of the preparatory games, such is the strong competition for places, he did not quite make the squad for the competitive games a few weeks ago. We shall see in a few weeks if he will be successful in regaining a place in the squad.

    Edward Jones (Stoke City)
    The demise of Bury football club at the start of the season resulted in many players needing to find a new club. Edward was one of those who had been employed by the Shakers but fortunately for him he was quickly signed by Stoke City. He has certainly made the most of the opportunity, as he started playing for the Potters U-18 team a few games into the season and has been a constant in their side ever since. Associated with Everton as a schoolboy, it was Bury who offered him the chance to become a scholar at their club and he played regularly for their U-18 team last season. He has seemingly grasped the opportunity Stoke have given him in very positive fashion and with his time as a scholar ending in a few months, will hope that he has impressed enough to earn a professional contract and remain in the development programme at the club. Doing so would also enhance his chances of further Wales representations, having been involved with the national teams in schoolboy and U-17 international matches.

    Josh Thomas (Swansea City)
    A player who has developed a reputation as a prolific goal scorer, this season Josh is experiencing the benefits of being involved in football on a fulltime basis, having joined the ranks of the scholars at the Liberty Stadium club in the summer. An indication of the regard the coaching staff at the club have for his potential is that they have already elevated him into the U-23 squad for some of their matches. Although he has played quite a few games for the U-18 team and as would be expected has scored quite a few goals for that team, a decision seems to have been made to challenge his ability to adapt to that next level of development football much sooner than for most of his age group. Those Swansea fans, aware of his exploits, will be hoping that he can continue his progress in rapid fashion and be anticipating that he will eventually score regularly for the first team. Wales fans would also have a keen interest if such a scenario developed, another candidate who could score at senior international level would be gladly welcomed. Josh, having previously represented the nation as a schoolboy and U-17 international, has been involved with the U-19's this season. He made an appearance off the bench when a member of the very strong squad assembled for the recent qualification games which concluded with a successful outcome. He will also be available to play in that age group next season.

    - John Jones.

    [photo embedded from FAW Cymru ]
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    Posted: Sunday 5th January 2020
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