Brennan Johnson of Wales in the pregame warmup session during the UEFA Euro Qualifiers Eliminator Group A match Wales vs Poland at Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, United Kingdom, 26th March 2024 (Photo by Craig Thomas/News Images)

The future of football in Wales seems to be on the right path. We qualified for the World Cup 2 years ago and while we won’t be at the 2024 Euros, we did progress out of the group stage in the two competitions before that.

We’ll be saying goodbye to some of the talents that earned us those successes, but there are many waiting in the wings that can take over from the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey and define a new future for Welsh football.

Brennan Johnson

While he was blazing down the wing and winning the plaudits for Forest, you could get very short odds on Johnson plying his trade away from Nottingham. Sites with payout rates of 96% and above also offered fantastic odds on him finding his way to the top of the goalscoring charts in his first season. That never happened, and he hasn’t been as explosive in London, but it’s still clear that the lad has immense talent and will play a huge role in the future of the Wales football team.

Johnson is fast and skilful. He also has an eye for goal. Even at the highest level, speed can transform a game and terrorise defences, as we have often seen with Gareth Bale. He’s not quite a like-for-like replacement. Bale is arguably more technically gifted and better in front of goal. But Johnson is young and has a long way to go. In a couple of years, they’ll be building the Wales team around him.

Of course, people said the same about Daniel James and while he has over 50 caps and some great performances, he never quite became the world-beating winger that many predicted he would.

Lewis Koumas

18-year-old Lewis Koumas is the son of Jason Koumas, an attacking midfielder who scored 10 times in over 30 caps for Wales. He is currently part of the Liverpool setup and was given his debut in an FA Cup game back in February. He scored in that game, drilling in a grass-cutter from the edge of the box to instantly win the affections of the Kop.

Koumas is eligible to play for England, Cyprus, and Wales and has already played at U19 and U21 level for the latter. Like his dad before him, he seems to suit an attacking midfielder role. He typically plays more centrally in midfield but regularly appeared as a striker for Liverpool U18s.

Robert Lewandowski of Poland and Jordan James of Wales battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro Qualifiers Eliminator Group A match Wales vs Poland at Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, United Kingdom, 26th March 2024
(Photo by Craig Thomas/News Images)

Jordan James

Jordan James made his debut for Birmingham when he was just 17 and he has since played nearly 100 times for the Blues, while also reaching double figures for Wales. And he’s still only 19 years old!

He plays with composure and experience. It’s no surprise then that he has been likened to Jude Bellingham, with many tipping him to follow a similar career path. He even played with Jude in the Birmingham youth setup, so he certainly has the pedigree.

Luke Harris

Harris turned 19 in March and while he picked up caps at junior level, he has yet to wear a Welsh shirt as a senior. The Fulham attacking midfielder is currently on loan to Exeter City, but he has played in the Premier League, and we may start seeing him line up for the north London outfit next season.

There was a lot of excitement around Harris a couple of years ago, with Chelsea rumoured to be interested in signing him. That seems to have died down a little, but he’s still very young and will return to Fulham with some invaluable experience under his belt.

Eddie Beach

Beach has been labelled as a wonderkid in the past and is still just 20 years old. The goalkeeper is one of the many young talents on the books at Chelsea, but he’s currently on loan at Gateshead after a short spell with Chelmsford.

His career hasn’t been smooth sailing, despite his young age. While playing for Southampton, he spent 11 months on the sidelines with an injury and was then forced to endure the events of 2020 when football—and everything else—was placed on hold for a few months. Still, he has picked up caps at U19 and U21 level and if his development continues in this manner, he could be the man between the posts in the future.

Summary: Everything is Looking Up

The names above are just a few of the young Welsh players that look set for big futures. There is a long way to go in their development, and with the exception of James and Johnson, it’s hard to know if they will have what it takes to play at the highest level domestically, let alone internationally. But it’s good to know that there are top players waiting to fill the holes that will be left when the current generation of stars retires.