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Preston teenager Aaron Bennett receives Wales Under-17 international call-up

It’s always great to see young players come up through the ranks and break into the first team.

Whilst a few players have made the bench this season; Jacob Holland-Wilkinson, Lewis Coulton, Lewis Leigh, and Joe Rodwell-Grant, one player in the Under 18’s remains very highly rated.

Aaron Bennett turned 17 in January and has been playing above his age group throughout his career. The first-year scholar is described on the official Preston North End website as a player with exceptional ball control, finishing and skill, whilst he has been involved in first-team training at times this season.

9 Sep 2000: Rob Edwards of Preston is challenged by Peter Crouch of QPR during the game between Queens Park Rangers v Preston North End in the Nationwide Division One played at Loftus Road, London. Mandatory Credit: Ker Robertson/ALLSPORT

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Fresh from a goal in the 6-0 win over Accrington Stanley academy last week, Bennett has now received a call-up to the Wales Under-17 squad.

Although no matches are scheduled, the training camp will be led by Matt Jones, who used to play for Leeds United and Leicester City, and he will be assisted by former North Ender Rob Edwards.

In the last few years, it has been tough for youth players to break into the North End team.

It led to Tyrhys Dolan leaving to Blackburn Rovers, much to the dismay of many fans. He said there never seemed to be a clear pathway to the first-team so he looked elsewhere, and it has paid off for him.

Josh Earl has been the only one to cement a place in the first-team squad of late. Adam O’Reilly and Jack Baxter have had a sniff of action in the last couple of years, and have had a few loan spells as well; both are currently playing in Ireland on loan.

There are high hopes for Bennett after major fan praise, and Youl Mawene’s son Noah is also a prospect in the youth team. He scored a hat-trick in that 6-0 win last week, and it would be great to see him play for the first team purely for nostalgic reasons.

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