On Saturday, Elliot Myles scored a late winner for Wales U17s against Belgium to edge them closer to the European Championships. It was a brilliantly taken goal, where he cut in from the left and drove towards the edge of the area before unleashing a wonderfully executed shot into the right corner.
None of this would have come as a surprise to anyone at Norwich City where his technical quality is well known. This was epitomised last season when he made his U18s debut at the age of 15. This demonstrated the club’s ambition to push Elliot up the age groups and was a recognition of the talent he possesses.
Elliot Myles represented Wales U17s during the international break.
His quality is supported by positive numbers too as in 2022-23 he netted five times while accumulating two assists, having played the majority of the season as a 15-year-old. Even more impressively, Myles has equalled his goal tally this season by November, demonstrating the consistency he’s showing at U18 level. He has also won a penalty and assisted once this season, growing his G/A tally nicely.
Between September 23 and October 28 this season, Elliot scored eight goals and contributed three assists. One game in particular that had a significant outcome on those figures was a U17 Premier League Cup match against West Ham, in which he scored a hat-trick as well as picking up two assists. Admittedly, it was at a level at which he’s now expected to comfortably perform, but his attacking performance was devastating that afternoon.
This form has seen him earn a place in the Wales Under-17s team for consecutive months, with England also keeping a close eye on him.
Across the season Elliot has been mainly deployed as a central attacking midfielder but has also started as a striker on several occasions. When playing as an attacking midfielder, he tends to drop deeper to access the ball in the middle third, and then drift to the flanks to isolate himself from the opposition. This is mainly due to the U18s’ conservative playing style being heavily conservative, meaning speed and quality on the transitions are vital, and Elliot is a player expected to deliver those qualities.
When operating as a striker, Myles tends to stay more central to occupy the centre-halves, while giving his other teammates responsibility to connect the ball to the middle and attacking thirds. As well as occupying the centre-backs, he is also expected to demonstrate good movement in order to score goals. One game that represented this effectively was against Aston Villa in the U18PL Cup, where he peeled off his man to find space in the back post, which resulted in him scoring from close range.
Myles helped Wales U17s to the Elite Euro Qualifying Championships.
Another position that he has experience of playing in is central midfield. This happened sporadically during 2022-23, with the primary objective of him developing his game off the ball. As well as providing that, he was also an extra goal threat from midfield.
With the U18s still conceding goals despite playing in a conservative manner, Myles is probably best suited to an attacking midfield role as this offers him a greater chance of accessing the ball in deeper areas, as well as playing in an advanced position. If Elliot plays as a striker, the team’s chance creation suffers significantly.
Elliot’s excellent vision allows him to play a wide range of progressive passes, which present glorious attacking opportunities for his fellow attackers, whether that’s audacious switch passes to the opposite flank or outside-of-the-the-boot through balls to the strikers.
Due to the U18s having a lack of identity in possession and in forward areas, a lot of emphasis is placed on individual quality in attacking third, an area in which Myles thrives. It’s one thing for him to create goal-scoring opportunities, but it’s even more important that the strikers form a relationship with him so they can understand the correct time to start their runs for his forward passes.
As the season nears the halfway point, the strikers are connecting better with each other with every passing game, although it can be difficult at times with the attacking personnel interchanging each game.
As mentioned above, Myles is a superb player on the transition as he has all the necessary traits, one of which is blistering pace, which helps him to get past defenders as well as progress the team up the pitch. He also has a wonderful end product, which makes him a more devastating proposition to defend against.
Due to his fantastic start to the season, he earned his first start for the U21s against Bournemouth in the U21s PL Cup.
Worth noting is that in that same competition against Wolves, Uriah Djedje and Caleb Ansen – also from the U18s – made their U21 debuts too, which highlights a specific pathway for the U18s players to force their way into the U21s squad.
But focusing on Elliot’s U21 debut in particular, he had a quiet game despite applying himself well. The most pleasing element of his performance was his application off the ball, which was more intense than his tenacity out of possession for the U18s.
Finally, to conclude, Norwich have an outstanding talent at their disposal and must follow a coherent and progressive pathway plan in order to keep him at the football club.
As I referenced on X (Twitter) a few weeks back, Elliot’s U21 debut came earlier than expected and would have pleased him and his representatives as it gives them a pathway to invest in. As Myles is currently just 16, Norwich City can’t offer him a professional contract until he turns 17, which is on January 20.
One to keep an eye on.