TEN young guns to keep an eye out for in the Welsh Premier League this season
The Welsh Premier League has been somewhat of a breeding ground for nurturing young talent over the last few seasons.
Full Wales international Tom Bradshaw and Football League players like Gwion Edwards and Ryan Hedges have all come through the Welsh pyramid system.
Jordan Davies, a former loanee of Bangor City, plays in the Under-23s of Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion.
However, there’s still a load of untapped potential in the Welsh Premier League, who could excel in the Welsh top flight this season.
Ethan Jones – 20 – Newtown – Centre-Forward
A deadline day signing back in February for Newtown, Jones will be certain to play a prominent role in the Robins attack, after Jamie Reed’s long-term injury.
The 20-year-old forward previously of Shrewsbury Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers scored five goals in nine appearances last season.
Jones has five Football League games under his belt, as well as playing for Tranmere Rovers and Southport.
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Momodou Touray – 18- Barry Town United (On loan from Newport County)
The 18-year-old forward has joined from Newport County on a season-long loan and could be the go-to forward for the Linnets this season.
Kayne McLaggon was Barry’s main source of goals last season, but the arrival of Touray could take the weight off McLaggon’s shoulders.
Touray, a scholar at Newport County was on the scoresheet for Merthyr Town last season in the FA Cup and having had experience at men’s senior football now, he will feel equipped to deal with the physical threat of Welsh Premier League football.
He netted a hat-trick on his home debut in their pre-season victory over Redditch United at Jenner Park Stadium, boding well for the upcoming season.
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Ben Cabango – 18 – The New Saints (On loan from Swansea City) – Centre-back
Cardiff born centre-back ben Cabango has looked assured in the New Saints defence, alongside Blaine Hudson in the New Saints European games.
The 18-year-old has been trusted alongside the former Chester defender and looks set to start the season, as Scott Ruscoe’s first choice centre-back pairing.
The New Saints have recruited wisely this summer and Ruscoe has assembled a fairly young team, bringing players in like Lewis, alongside Cabango in the defence, as long as the pair can work with Hudson and Marriott, then they will develop into top young players.
It may be a case of The New Saints pleading with Swansea to allow Cabango in staying longer than January, in his early showings in the green and white hoops.
Sion Bradley – Caernarfon Town – Winger – 20
Bradley already has Premier League experience, albeit just the three, totalling just 59 minutes. But Bradley has made the short move from Porthmadog to rivals Caernarfon Town this summer.
He joined alongside Cai Jones, who also joins from Porthmadog. Bradley found his feet in the Cymru Alliance last season, is regarded as one of the league’s top performers.
With Eardley’s previous experience as Llandudno U19’s manager, signing a player like Eardley shows that he is willing to give young players a chance.
Eardley said: “Sion is and will remain a promising young player for a couple more years.
He’s done exceptionally well at Port the last couple of years and he’s relishing the opportunity to perform at the top tier of Welsh football.”
⚽ 40 ‘ Gôl / Goal!!!
— sgorio (@sgorio) May 12, 2018
Will Evans – 21 – Cardiff Metropolitan University – Centre-Mid
Evans now has two seasons of Welsh Premier League football under his belt, but this campaign could be the one which we see a Will Evans that will become the main attraction.
Adam Roscrow, Eliot Evans and Emlyn Lewis are the three players who are the first names on the team sheet, but this season the centre-midfielder has the potential to mirror his teammates.
He scored in Met’s play-off semi-final victory over Barry Town United, showing smart movement to put it past Massaro. He replicated that in pre-season, scoring a similar goal against Gloucester City. Evans’ technical ability and vision is his key attributes.
As one of the key players in the BUCS squad, winning two National titles, Evans could be the top of the class Archer this campaign.
Scott Coughlan – 19 – Llanelli Town – Goalkeeper
Wales under-19 international Scott Coughlan will be the Reds number one going into the season, following the departure of Craig Morris to Ammanford. Coughlan had already been at Llanelli Town but had a brief spell with Sundsvall U19.
At just 19 and the ability to have played for both Cardiff City and Hull City, as well as a spell in Sweden, Coughlan could come into the spotlight, with the Llanelli Town defence to be tested a fair amount, as new boys of the division.
Llanelli Town had the best defence in the league last season and with a handful of appearances from the former Cardiff City youngster, he will be hoping to build on that.
Callum Roberts – 19 – Newtown AFC – Left-Back
Shrewsbury Town has been somewhat of a hotbed for young talent, to join both Newtown and The New Saints.
Now Roberts has joined Chris Hughes’ men on a permanent transfer, having left The New Meadow.
Roberts still has time to improve in his career and made 18 appearances for both the Robins and New Saints last campaign. He scored for Newtown too, despite being in the left-back position, in a 3-2 home defeat to Carmarthen Town.
Tom Holland – 21 – The New Saints – Centre-Midfielder
Holland had a stellar first season for The New Saints, since making the summer move from AFC Fylde. He won the Welsh Premier League title, as well as the League Cup.
29 appearances, starting 28 of those and scoring three goals, earnt him the TNS Young Player of the Season award. He was also nominated for the league Young Player of the Year, but lost out to Luke Wall.
Fortunately for The New Saints, they have managed to tie him down to a new deal, after breaking into the squad.
His manager Scott Ruscoe sung his praises massively when he signed the new deal: “He’s had an excellent first season in the JD Welsh Premier League and has been the standout young player by a long way.”
A stand out performance against KF Shkendija in The New Saints 4-0 victory, as well as a composed performance against the Lincoln Red Imps, shows that The New Saints have a mature and well-nurtured player.
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Jack Rimmer – 19 – Aberystwyth Town – Centre-Back
A three-seasoned veteran for The Green & Blacks, having made his debut for Aberystwyth as a sixteen-year-old, Jack Rimmer could be the next academy product to move on to professional football.
Gwion Edwards and Tom Bradshaw have already moved on to the Football League and there’s no reason why Rimmer can’t aim for that.
In the last three years, he has made 29 appearances for Aber, scoring a total of six times, including a winner against rivals Haverfordwest County.
With a big overhaul of players at Aberystwyth, with many moving on, Rimmer has remained loyal and could make this his true breakout season, with the aim in nailing down a consistent place in the squad.
Zebb Edwards – 19 – Centre-Forward -Llandudno
Signed from Prestatyn Town after being relegated with the Seasiders, Zebb and Zyaac Edwards reunited again to join Iwan Williams’ new look Llandudno side.
Zebb the youngest of the three Edwards’ brothers plying in the Welsh Premier League has versatility on his side. With home comforts of having brother Zyaac as a teammate, Zebb has the ability to follow in the footsteps of his two brothers.
Big things are expected from Llandudno, given the transfers they have made this summer and Zebb Edwards could be a big part of that.
(Featured Image: Rhys Skinner)