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U18's season preview 2013/14

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Guest Steven 007

U18 Season 2013/14 Preview


Things are looking up after what can really only be described as a very disappointing season last time about. Last season the U18’s secured only 1 victory pre Christmas and that was against a young Liverpool side. Heavy defeats to Fulham, (1-5 & 0-6) Palace (0-5) and Chelsea (2-4) before Christmas set the tone, but Boro were unlucky at times. Against Chelsea for example they were drawing until late on, they were punch for punch level vs. Man City at home till a break away and were unlucky not to win when they eventually drew 1-1 vs. Man City away from home.

Things did slightly improve after the New Year and Boro went on a run of 4 draws from 6 games before putting some wins together. They beat Blackburn 4-1 in a game where Dylan McGlade netted a 10 minute hat trick after coming on as a sub, then a game later blew Newcastle apart when Jordan Jones netted a hat trick. Norwich were thrashed 7-0 (they played a young side as they were in the FA youth cup finals) before losing the last 3 games of the season to Newcastle, ***nal and Man City.

Over the full season Boro’s stats were P 24 W 4 D 7 L 13 for 33 against 48.


But it wasn’t all doom and gloom; seeds of hope were seen coming through. Callum Cooke scored on his U18 debut in midfield against Wolves. U18 debuts were also given to Jonny Helm, Nathan Plews, Matty Elsdon, Dael Fry, Junior Mondal, Nathan McGinley and Joe Wheatley. Against Fulham in the FA youth cup despite the score line being 6-4 in Fulham’s favour, it could have been very different. Despite being 1-3 down and reduced to 10 men Boro fought back to 3-3 and even went ahead 4-3 in extra time before Fulham finally finished Boro off.


This season the U18’s have gone 10 for 10 in pre season. Beating Twente & Willem II U19’s in Holland before taking the prize scalp of Ajax 2. And that was without the 3 Lions selected for England U17’s (Cooke, Elsdon and Helm)


The 3rd years are now too old, so this season there will be no Jordan Jones, Andre Bennett, Luke Coddington, Keo Weledji or Jonathan Burn. That’s not a huge issue; Jones, Bennett and Coddington were moved up to the U21s for a large part of the season. The central pairing of Weledji and Burn might be an issue if it wasn’t for the twin towers of Fry and Elsdon coming into the 1st year scholars group. From those in the now 2nd year Bradley Fewster and Bryn Morris jumped towards the U21’s also. Again, their advancement on paper looks like a loss, but in Callum Cooke the U18’s have a readymade Morris replacement. Jowers, Mondal and Wyke are all capable of scoring so Fewster shouldn’t be a big miss. Joe Fryer proved towards the latter part of the season that he is a good keeper and should replace Coddington who again has moved up to the U21’s.



One name that might catch people out is that of Lewis Maloney. Lewis is a 3rd year but will be playing U18 games this season. He has suffered with injury over the first 2 seasons of his scholarship and has special FA dispensation to play as an over age player during his 3rd and final scholarship year.



If the new scholars blend well with the remaining 2nd years (who are not considered for the U21’s) then Boro have a formidable group. They have depth in defence and a plethora of attacking options.


The league set up this season is slightly different. Last season there were 3 qualifying groups. This time its split into North and South. Each league has 11 sides in it and they will play each other home and away. They will also play every side in the other League but only once. (Either home or away)


In the Northern League Middlesbrough are joined by, Blackburn, Bolton, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle, Sunderland, Stoke and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The sides in the Southern League, who Middlesbrough will play against only once are, ***nal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Fulham, Leicester, Norwich, Reading, Southampton, Spurs, West Brom and West Ham.


The top 2 sides from each league will progress to the semi finals playing to be Champions of the U18 league.


Mini Profiles


Goal Keeper

Joe Fryer, having spent most of last season playing U16 football due to there being 2 U18 keepers ahead of him (Bland and Coddington) Joe stepped up well when called upon. A tall, athletic keeper who commands his box well.



Robbie Tinkler, versatile defender who can play right, left or centre back. Aggressive in the tackle with a high work rate.

Ross McNab, left sided player who can play centre back or left back. Missed opening part of last season due to injury.

Nathan Plews, right back who made his U18 debut last season whilst still an U16. Confident in the tackle.

Jonathan Helm, another who debuted as an U16, athletic player who loves to get forward. England U17.

Dael Fry, Tall defender and part of the pairing I named the twin towers. Good in the air and surprisingly good with the ball at his feet. Habit of scoring goals!

Nathan McGinley, left back who loves to get forward, overlaps and offers attacking options whilst making sure he doesn’t leave his fellow defenders short.

Matthew Elsdon, the other Twin Tower. An England U17 who played very well in the FA youth cup vs. Fulham. Confident defender who is great in the air and on the ground.



Priestly Griffiths, England U18 international that can play in the defence if needed but looks more at home protecting the back 4. Has a mean free kick on him.

Mark Kitching, another who can play in defence but when he moved into a midfield role last season really came to life. Left footer who has an eye for a pass.

Callum Cooke, England U17 captain who scored on his U18 debut vs. Wolves last season. Another who has a habit of scoring important goals.

Jonathan Coleby, technical midfielder who can play at right back if needed. Covers the defence well and moves the ball around in a no frills fashion.

Conor O’Neil, missing lots last season and played U16s at one point to regain fitness. Technically a very gifted player.

Stephen O’Neil, like his brother not used all that often last season. Small player who is technically gifted when in possession of the football.

Joe Wheatley, debuted late last season away at Newcastle. Another who looks comfortable on the ball. Offers protection to the back 4 whilst distributing the ball well and backing up the attacks.

Callum Johnson, midfielder who is athletic and combative. Technically sound, keeps possession well and has an eye for a pass.

Bryn Morris, technically still old enough for the group and may be involved when the FA youth cup is played. Technically a superb player who keeps possession. Made debut for the full side in FA cup and full debut vs. Sheffield Wednesday on the final day of the season 2012/13.



Bradley Fewster, like Morris a U21 player mainly but has the opportunity if needed to figure in the U18 league and the FA youth cup. Talented forward who has played for England U18’s.

Scott McCarthy, fast forward who grew in confidence as the season went on.

Luke Armstrong, son of former Boro player Alun. Poacher instinct.

Junior Mondal, debuted like many of the U16’s last season. Nippy player who can play wide or central.

Jordan Jowers, first year who started last season’s U16 league on fire in front of goal. Gifted player who can drop deep and move the ball about.

Matty Wyke, second of the family to progress into the academy in recent years and like his older Brother Charlie can score goals. Versatile player who played at right back last season also.

Thomas McAloon, Northern Ireland U19 international missed a huge part of last season through injury before scoring on his return to the side vs. Manchester City then scored an amazing individual goal the game after vs. Blackburn where he ran for nearly 35 yards before finishing coolly.



Middlesbrough kick off their new season with two away games, Tottenham (17th) and Blackburn (24th) before playing two games in three days vs. Liverpool (28th) and Reading (31st)


As usual regular match updates will be on my twitter feed @BoroYouths, images on my BoroYouths facebook page, along with match updates and player profiles here on OneBoro.


Fixtures in full


17th Tottenham (A)

24th Blackburn (A)

28th Liverpool (H)

31st Reading (H)


14th Norwich (A)

21st ***nal (H)

28th Chelsea (A)


5th Bolton (A)

26th West Ham (H)


2nd WBA (A)

9th Sunderland (H)

16th Wolves (A)

23rd Man Utd (H)

30th Stoke (A)


7th Man City (H)

14th Newcastle (A)

21st Everton (H)


4th Blackburn (H)

11th Liverpool (A)


1st Bolton (H)

8th Sunderland (A)

15th Wolves (H)

22nd Man Utd (A)


1st Stoke (H)

8th Man City (A)

15th Everton (A)

22nd Newcastle (H)

29th Fulham (H)


5th Southampton (A)

12th Aston Villa (H)

26th Leicester (A)


For someone like my self with a vested intrest in who the U18,s are and how good they are, but never really before known anything about them before... this article by Powlay is most informative ... well done and well writen :)

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Highlights from England under 18's v Hungary where Bryn Morris was captain and Bradley Fewster scored a brace. Bryn Morris is number 6 and Bradley Fewster is number 9:



Interview with Neil Dewsnip and Bryn Morris after the game:


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