International | Clarke, Bradbury and Owen on duty

The hard work of players, coaches and support staff within Wolves Academy has once again been rewarded with recognition at international level.

In addition to Leon Chiwome’s England under-17s call-up, three more rising stars will be representing their nations following recent squad announcements.

Brayden Clarke is currently out in Croatia competing for Wales under-17s as they bid to qualify for the 2023 U17 EURO Finals in Hungary.

The Dragons sit top of Group 7 after opening with a 2-0 victory over Croatia and then sharing the spoils in a 3-3 draw with Sweden. Craig Knight’s side go head-to-head with Albania tomorrow afternoon knowing three points will ensure progression to the elite round of qualification in the spring.

“Being able to compete and learn in these environments will be massive for Brayden,” Wes Hughes, under 15/16 youth phase lead coach, said. “He’s managed to earn himself a space in the age group above which will be a challenge, but he seems to enjoy it.

“He’s got a good family structure around him and he’s a really grounded boy. I see a lad that’s growing in confidence now and you can clearly see the development when players come back from an international camp.”

There has been Welsh representation aplenty within the old gold ranks, with Makenzie Bradbury set to build on his recent captaincy of the under-16s.

The midfielder has been included in the 22-man squad selected to represent Cymru in the Victory Shield Tournament that will be held in Ireland.

Adrian Harvie’s team will take on Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with the first of those three games taking place on Sunday 30th October at Waterford RSC.

Elsewhere, Harvey Owen will travel to St George’s Park later this week following his inclusion in the upcoming England under-15s selection camp.

It comes following some high praise from a three-time Premier League winner, as Hughes explains.

“Harvey was introduced to the group last year as a 13-year-old playing in the under-15s youth cup. The boys went on and did quite well in the competition and got to the semi-final – Harvey was a part of that journey and the boys really took to him as a younger player.

“He’s a right-footed player who likes to play on the left side at the back – whether that’s in a back three or a back four. He’s come on leaps and bounds in terms of his football. We truly believe if he can overcome some difficulties and embrace some of the adversity, he can surprise a few.

“We recently played at Tottenham and he had a nice pat on the back from an ex-player in Yaya Toure. He personally went up to Harvey and said that he had a lot of potential and would be a really good player in the future, so I think he’ll be really proud of that.”

Hughes adds that the international call-ups for all players within the academy come as a result of the well-oiled machine at Compton Park that places high importance on structure, teamwork and belief.

“We’ve got support networks within the building who all have to work together to ensure that we’re maximising potential in all areas – not just in terms of what people see on the eye in that 90-minute game, but there’s a lot more thought that goes into the actual processes to help the boys develop as people and then giving them the best possible chance to reach their full potential as a player.”