SHOULDER BACKS BROWN TO SUCCEED - 11/10/2003
Gillingham goalkeeper Jason Brown, the new Wales young player of the year, has been tipped for a long-term future with Mark Hughes' senior side, and Under-21 boss Jimmy Shoulder has also added the name of Crewe's David Vaughan to the list of players to watch.
Wales Under-21s play their final European qualifier at Barry on Friday night against Serbia and Montenegro, and after seven caps it will be Brown's last game at this level - he is among a dozen players from Shoulder's squad who will be involved for the last time at this level because they will be too old for next season's tournament, almost a year away, but Shoulder sees a bright future for Vaughan and Brown.
He said: "It is pleasing that David has been promoted to the senior squad this weekend, I have been a big admirer of his for a long time. He has the technique to operate at the highest level but also a great temperament. Against him is that he is not the most physical or powerful, but he is developing in that department. What he has also learned is how to make the best use of what he has, so he copes quite well. He is no six-footer, but he is the one technically and mentally to go further."
Shoulder added: "Jason, too, he is another playing at a high level with Gillingham and can go on from him to make a career for himself with the seniors. He has a strong personality, different to David who is a quiet lad.
"We do tend to equate quietness with lack of resolve, and if you are noisy, people think you are stronger and better. But Jason is an ebullient character, larger than life and someone who has played regularly at First Division level. If you are playing at the highest level possible then the chances are your career will develop quicker."
Shoulder also knows that several lads are unlikely to progress enough now to catch Mark Hughes' eye for the senior.
Shoulder said: "There are a few players now that could see the end to their international career, for others it could hopefully be the first of several steps to represent the full side in the coming years. They do understand, but young people do tend to get very self-absorbed and if you add in all the other hoohah that goes on around the game, they quickly forget.
"Deep down some do realise the significance of where they are going. And if they focus properly back at their clubs there is no reason they cannot emulate the likes of Earnshaw, Davies, Bellamy and Gabbidon, who have come through the Under-21s and become big success stories."
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