Why the inclusion of non-league players in the Wales C could benefit the Welsh Premier League
With the announcement of the Wales C squad yesterday ahead of their battle with England C later this month, much of the focus has been on which JD Welsh Premier League players should have made the squad.
It has to be said that in context of those who’ve missed out, Mark Jones and his right hand man Owain Tudur-Jones have probably picked the strongest squad available to them, and a side that certainly looks stronger than this time last year.
However, one challenge that has been labelled at the Wales C squad has been that it has seemingly adopted a selection policy that restricts selection to those players who currently ply their trade in the Welsh domestic system.
When you take a look at the squad, it’s clear that Jones has had a greater variety of attacking talent to choose from, as he hopes a combination of Adam Roscrow, Danny Brookwell, Eliot Evans, Kayne McLaggon and Liam Thomas can break down the England defence.
However, there have been questions about whether a truer representation of the Wales C squad would be to include Welsh eligible players who play in the non-league system in England.
There seems to be no precise definition around the selection policy for an international ‘C’ squad other than the players must not play in the fully professional Football League.
And whilst such selections may limit the representation of the JD Welsh Premier League and those feeder leagues below Wales’ top tier, it may offer an opportunity for the FAW to showcase the talent and quality both on and off the field in Wales’ domestic system.
Having played the first game against England C at Jenner Park last season, England C fans and players were able to ply their trade in one of Wales’ most historic grounds, belonging to one of the Welsh Premier League’s most successful sides since its inception in 1992.
Despite the limitations labelled against it and numerous fans determined to insist that there is greater potential outside of the Welsh domestic system, the Wales C squad represented by players both within and outside the domestic system could help challenge those assumptions head on.
If players within the English pyramid were able to play alongside some of the best Welsh talent in Wales, there would be the opportunity for said players to witness first hand some of the exciting talent developing within the Welsh Premier League and beyond.
Kayne McLaggon has emerged into one of the most exciting talents in the JD Welsh Premier League and has played some electric football in a Barry side that have surprised many fans this season, as they have kept pace in a title race, just two years after he moved away from the English system into Wales.
Henry Jones was a former Swansea City Under-21 captain, yet has spent the majority of his career beyond that in the top flight of Wales, and has proven his undoubtable quality with his rabona cross that went viral earlier this season.
By inter-mixing players from the English system with those from the Welsh system, it would be possible to increase the future possibility of said players of considering the Welsh domestic system when making future transfers and would equally expose Welsh domestic managers to a wider scope of players to consider for summer transfer dealings.
With an equally exciting coach, whether that be Mark Jones or anyone else in future versions of the Wales C squad, there would be the opportunity to impress players from the domestic system directly.
Combined with exciting marketing, a packed crowd and a consistent run of games against other nations besides England C, there would be the opportunity for the FAW and the JD Welsh Premier League to assert the talent of Wales’ ever improving top flight to those who do not regularly follow it.
With some crafty decision making, it could bode well for the future of the Welsh domestic system.
FEATURED IMAGE: Will Cheshire