Wales picked up another win against the Republic of Ireland in the UEFA Nations League this week. Ryan Giggs’ side were the better team in a 1-0 win over their rivals. Plenty of Wales’ young talents thrived in the game, but one, in particular, deserves praise.
Matthew Smith was starting his first game for Wales and the Manchester City-owned talent played way above the level his 18-year-old status would have suggested. On loan at Dutch side FC Twente from City, the teenager looks another gem for Wales going forward.
It must, however, be a sickener for West Bromwich Albion.
Smith was born in Redditch and came through the youth system at West Brom where he was considered a top prospect.
Unfortunately, Manchester City have been sweeping up such talent across the country.
Smith joined the City academy at the age of 14 and West Brom never got to see his potential in full flow.
It is not the first of their young talents to decide a move was in their best interests. Tyler Roberts, now of Leeds United, was up front for Wales in the same game. Izzy Brown, currently on loan at Leeds, left West Brom for Chelsea. Kemar Roofe was also let go too soon, thriving at Oxford United and now at Elland Road.
West Brom have high hopes for the likes of Sam Field, Rayhaan Tulloch, Kane Wilson, Rekeem Harper and Morgan Rogers. But they must ensure they keep hold of their talented youngsters going forward.