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AFC Telford comment: Shane Sutton proves there’s talent in Welsh leagues

Not many exports out of Welsh domestic football have made people stand up and take notice in recent years.

Shane Sutton
Shane Sutton

And neither have many turned into somewhat of a hero at their new English club, but Bucks skipper Shane Sutton is one of them.

And he has showed that exports out of Welsh domestic football should no longer be frowned upon or dismissed at the drop of a hat, like they been in recent years.

The 30-year-old arrived at the New Bucks Head in the summer of 2016 after spending the majority of his career in the Welsh Premier League with Newtown AFC, where he cemented himself as a club legend.

He made the switch across the border and at that time many Telford fans questioned the signing and whether Sutton, despite his good reputation, could cut it in the National League.

That would have solely been based on the fact he was coming from the Welsh Premier League.

The large majority of English system non-league fans look down their noses at the Welsh league.

The odd Bucks fan would have known of Sutton and would have known he had the credentials to succeed in the National League.

He was installed as skipper and has virtually played every single game since his arrival, scoring five goals this season as he has led his side into the play-off places and FA Trophy semi-final.

The centre-half has shown players who have developed in the Welsh system and made their name can cut it there. Andy Wycherley gained his grounding in Welsh football and now he has performed for the Bucks.

Others have crossed the border and shown the league has quality.

Jason Oswell left Newtown in the same month as Sutton, going on to score 20-plus goals at Stockport County and earn a move to Morecambe.

Last year Connell Rawlinson swapped The New Saints for Port Vale and Sam Finley departed the Welsh champions in 2015, and has ended up in League One with Accrington Stanley via AFC Fylde.

Before that Rhys Healey left Connahs Quay for Cardiff, and is now an established football league striker.

The league is usually synonymous with players going the other way, getting their last little chance of glory plying their trade in the league. For some it is the only serious shot at European football they will ever get, so you can’t blame them.

Telford players have in the past have ended up in the league.

Tony Gray spent time in Wales, and is now back in England, and the likes of Wes Baynes and Andy Owens currently turn out across the border.

But now it is the case of players coming the other way.

The Telford skipper isn’t the only one to show what Welsh league players can do across border, and there are flops who do not work out and trundle off back to the Welsh divisions.

But Sutton is not one of them, and he has played a hand in enhancing the reputation of the Welsh system.

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