ARTICLE BY Keane Webster
PICTURE by Sky Sports
BY NOW, I am sure that everyone is slowly but surely getting excited for Wales’ appearance at Euro 2020 this summer.
Rob Page will take charge of the team who will face Italy, Switzerland and Turkey in a very tough Group A.
Here I’ve picked out four young players who I believe will be vital to any success our national team will enjoy in years to come.
NUMBER ONE – Daniel James
Club: Manchester United
Caps (goals): 19 (4)
A player who made his professional debut for Swansea City in 2018 and has gone on to cost £15 million and become a key figure in the squad of Premier League side Manchester United, as well as a consistent starter for his national side.
James has found his feet once again recently for both club and country, leaving behind the rough patch he experienced after an electric start to his professional career for both Swansea and Man United.
Having featured 68 times for Man United and 39 times for Swansea, despite his young age, James is now a fairly experienced player who possesses so much raw pace.
Already with 19 caps to his name, James looks to be a vital part of the Wales XI’s going into the Euro’s but also for many more years to come.
NUMBER TWO – David Brooks
Caps (goals): 16 (2)
Now playing in the championship with Bournemouth, Brooks is a player who has always impressed since making his senior debut for Wales in 2017.
When playing in the Premier League throughout the 2018/19 season, he featured 30 times in a weak Bournemouth side, scoring 7 times and providing 4 assists.
However, since the 19-20 season, Brooks’ career has been riddled with injuries which have have hampered his development. Fortunately, the 20-21 season has seen a fresher David Brooks take to the pitch and he now looks to be in line book himself a place onto that Euros plane.
After having to be eased back into the Bournemouth squad, he has made 27 appearances this season, on and off the bench, scoring 4 goals and adding 6 assists to his name. With his ability and versatility, he is definitely another figure Welsh football fans can get excited about in future if he can stay fit.
NUMBER 3 – Joe Rodon
Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Position: Centre Back
Caps (goals): 12 (0)
Currently playing for Tottenham Hotspur, Rodon has proved his worth for both club and country multiple times already.
After making 54 senior appearances for boyhood club Swansea City, in the summer of 2020, he earned himself a well-deserved big move to the London club after a season of consistent performances.
This season, Rodon has made 23 appearances for Wales and Spurs, helping his club onto a spot in the EFL cup final, and Wales to their first 3 points of the World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign making a significant block in the last minute of our 1-0 win against Czech Republic.
Like the previous two players, this is yet another talent that reassures Welsh fans that there is plenty to be excited about.
NUMBER FOUR – Ethan Ampadu
Club: Sheffield United (on loan from Chelsea)
Position: Centre Back/Defensive Mid
Caps (goals): 22 (0)
Still somehow only 20 years of age, it feels like Ampadu has been around for years now and is the most capped player on this list.
Since making his senior debut for Wales in 2017, Ampadu has gone on to play in both midfield and defense in Germany with RB Leipzig and now in the Premier League with relegated Sheffield United. Despite the Yorkshire club having a season to forget, Ampadu has stood out this whole season as one of the club’s only performing players.
With 22 caps to his name already, he has cemented himself into the Wales eleven since a couple of years now. Incredible on the ball, defensively and in the air, there is absolutely no doubt that he is filled with bags of ability that can push him to be a very key figure for Wales, as well as possibly pushing himself into the Chelsea side when he returns from his loan spell.
As well as all these attributes, Ampadu should also be hailed for his incredible versatility having played effectively in midfield, at center half and at right back.
He’s another experienced youngster who looks ready to take Wales to the next level over the next decade.