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YOUNG GUNS BLOG UPDATE

 

Young Guns Blog by John Jones.

Alex Babos (Derby County)
It was new name added to my awareness of those with Welsh eligibility when his name appeared in the Wales U-21 squad earlier this season. Reading reports of his performances for the Derby U-23 team suggested that he was at the very least a good addition, strengthening the depth of the group of players available. A continuation of quality play, as he also captains the team in the intervening time indicates that Alex is moving ever closer to consideration for an involvement with the first team at the club. Derby are in a strong position to contend for the possibility of promotion into the Premier League accumulating a sizeable squad that facilitates it. Not only do they have quality in this group, but a good proportion of them are experienced players who have competed at Championship and Premier League levels for numerous seasons. This makes the pathway for Alex that much more difficult, certainly in the short term, creating a likelihood that first team football is not imminent. A projection into the future is very often a case of incorrect assumptions and much different from how it unfolds. I will just add that a positive progression in Alex’s development will eventually provide him an opportunity for first team football and hope that it will also bring about beneficial contributions to the Wales national teams as well.

Aron Davies (Fulham)
In his second season as a member of Fulham’s Under-23 squad, Aron has been a regular member of the team during this time and in fact the selection as captain of it this season. Next on his agenda will be to convince management that the move into first team consideration at the club is an appropriate choice for them to make. The development made up to this point is an indication that he must be moving in this direction, although assessing its evolution is beyond any predictive ability on my part. Aron has had some amount of experience of what first team football entails through Fulham’s participation in the EFL Trophy. Undoubtedly clubs make an evaluation from such games, the competitiveness of the opponents tending toward a more physical rather than skill nature but still an important category in assessing development progress. Although he has not played internationally at U-21 level, Aron has been selected for squads but had to withdraw through injury in he interim. This can be used as a measure of his ability and so one can assume that first team football should be expected to happen in the future for him.

Jack Evans (Swansea City)
Jack is now in his second season as part of the Swansea U-23 squad and has established himself during that time to presently become a regular member of the side. He has also made consistent contributions when utilized by the Wales U-20 and U-21 teams since his introduction into them at last summer’s Toulon tournament. In what is becoming a recurring theme in the attempt to quantify the significance of the plaudits for what has been achieved, comes the reference that the ability to perform well in first team football circumstances is the ultimate test for all players. As with Aron, Jack has had some amount of introduction into this through Swansea’s EFL Trophy participation. His next target will be to get more familiarity with what it entails through doing so at league level for the club or maybe the more probable scenario of an intermediate step of a loan arrangement with an EFL club. It is of course a big benefit for a club to help in the development of a young player that will be of assistance to the first team and I am sure that both Swansea and Jack will work in unison to try and make it possible in his case. We shall have to wait and see if this eventually becomes the successful conclusion for Jack. 

Ryan Harrington (Aberdeen)
Another youngster who will be anxious to graduate into first team football as quickly as possible. In this case, Ryan is trying to get a place in the Aberdeen first team which competes in the Scottish Premier League. He is a member of the U-20 squad at the club, having joined them in the summer upon completion of his association with Everton. I have not been able to gather much information as to how his season has been going other than to be able to say he has been a regular member of the U-20 side since he joined them. Any involvement with the first team squad at the club would increase his experience, senior team playing time would be a major boost to his career.

Dan Jeffries (Dundee)
Dan joined Dundee just prior to the end of the January transfer window after spending the first half of the season as part of the Colchester United U-23 squad. He is now a member of the U-20 squad at the club and will be aiming to emulate another player with Welsh eligibility. Jack Hendry had a successful enough period at Dundee that resulted in Celtic persuading them to allow the acquisition of his services in exchange for a sizeable transfer fee. Whether Dan can reach such heights will remain to be seen, it is surely the challenge that he has set for himself.

A closing comment for this week has to offer a congratulatory salute to the Wales U-16 squad that produced very good results during development tournament they participated in last week. It is from this group of youngsters that next season’s Wales U-17 squad will be selected and so one can hope that progression from the preliminary qualification group and into the elite rounds is a good possibility.

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Posted: Wednesday 28th February 2018
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