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    YOUNG GUNS BLOG


    page originally posted : Sat, 4 Apr 20
    Young Guns






    Daniel Barden (Norwich City – on loan at Bury Town)
    The announcement in recent days that Daniel had signed a contract extension at Norwich prompted me to rectify his omission from young guns blogs in prior versions this season. He is very deserving of a mention, having been a member of the Wales U-19 squad that successfully progressed through the qualifying round of the UEFA competition earlier in the season. In his first season as a fulltime professional, Norwich decided to enhance his experience by agreeing to a season long loan at Bury Town. He has certainly relished the opportunity, playing in almost all the games Bury had played before the season was curtailed. The Norwich management team must also have been impressed with his performance level in those games as can be surmised by retaining his services for at least a couple more seasons. The previously mentioned international duty was not Daniel’s first occasion of representation for Wales, he had been awarded a good number of caps in previous seasons as both a schoolboy and an U-17 team member. At that time, he was affiliated with Arsenal and signed on as a scholar with the club. He completed his time as a scholar when moving on to join Norwich last season, a change  that has apparently been beneficial to both club and player.

    Alex John (Yeovil Town – on loan at Hull City)
    Last season, as the completion of his time as a scholar with the club approached, Alex accepted the offer to sign a fulltime professional contract at Yeovil. Having done well in his performances for the youth team, club management were confident that he could successfully transition and become a valuable first team squad member. As a means of preparation for such a task, giving him some first team experience at an intermediate level of competition, a half-season loan arrangement at Gosport Borough was agreed. His return to Yeovil at the end of the year did not last long as Hull City representatives contacted the club about his availability. Agreement to a transfer, initially on loan, was reached. The terms also included an option for Hull to enact a permanent move for Alex to join them if they were satisfactorily impressed. He played a few times for the Hull U-23 before football was suspended.

    Henry Nash (Stoke City)
    After previously being associated with The Potters as a schoolboy, Henry signed on as a scholar with them prior to the start of this season. He played for the U-18 team last season, making just over a double digit amount of appearances and has been involved with the team in a very similar number of instances this season. His hope will certainly be that football can return to something akin to normal circumstances before the start of next season. He will want to build on what he has already achieved and secure a regular starting role for the U-18’s. A success in that way would give  him a much better opportunity of being invited to remain with the club beyond his time as a youth player. Henry represented Wales when he was selected for a squad as his age group transitioned from schoolboy internationals to U-17 competition. Another part of his ambition will be to raise the level of his game enough to gain further selection invitations in future national squads.

    Marcus Snell (Wigan Athletic)
    Marcus began his time in fulltime football circumstances when moving on from being a schoolboy associate to becoming a scholar at Wigan at the start of this season. He has been a member of the matchday squad for most of the U-18 team games during the season, playing in about half of them and being an unused substitute in other instances. A club application to have their development system accepted as a category 2 status was successful last year and so their teams started playing at a level above their previous regional classification as the season began. The Wigan U-18 team, though very dominant in the competitions they were involved in last season, were expected to be challenged by a substantially stronger set of opponents this season. Though that is the case, the amount of success the team has enjoyed has not diminished, as they were comfortably at the top of their league table when everything in football was placed in a holding pattern. It does gives us clues to suggest that the quality Marcus possesses in ability must be of a high standard. The overall quality of the squad must be very good for the achievements to be possible and Marcus has obviously made some important contributions to warrant the substantial amount of playing time he has accumulated.

    Jay Williams (Fulham)
    The decision of the Newport County management staff to include Jay in their first team squad as they conducted pre-season preparations was another indication for numerous interested clubs that he was a young player with an ability to perform adequately at a standard of football above that normally expected for one of his age group. Previous to that time, Jay had already caught the attention of various club scouts doing well in the Newport academy teams and also in his performances as a Wales schoolboy international. Just as the season began, Fulham initiated transfer negotiations which concluded with an agreement for Jay to join them. He signed on as a first year scholar and has been a member of their U-18 team this season making a few appearances as well as being on the bench many times. As can be seen by their position at the top of the table in a top quality league, the U-18 squad at Fulham must contain some very good players and so it must be to Jay’s credit that he is considered an integral part of it. He will almost certainly be utilized a great deal more in games, as a second year scholar. Earlier in the season, Jay continued his national representative duties as a member of the successful Wales U-17 squad. Hopefully he is another who will, at some point in the future, be a candidate for selection in a strong Wales senior squad.

    - John Jones

    [photo embedded from FAW Cymru ]

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    Posted: Saturday 4th April 2020
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