He’s one of the hottest prospects in the JD Cymru Leagues and August 2020 isn’t going to be something Llyr Morris forgets in a hurry.
Securing a move from Cymru North side Ruthin Town to Cymru Premier European heavyweights Bala Town this week, Morris could have a very memorable month as the Lakesiders get set for a UEFA Europa League tie at the end of August, which their new striker is sure to have some role in.
We caught up with the newest member of the Maes Tegid outfit recently to find out more about his move to the shores of Llyn Tegid.
“I’m 24 years old now and the chance to move to Bala was too good an opportunity to turn down.” Morris said. “I have been scoring goals in the Cymru North and I want to test myself at the Cymru Premier level.
“I came back from university a few years ago to play in the Cymru North with Ruthin, and I knew I was playing well, but didn’t want to move up too early in my development and potentially risk falling back down again and not have another chance at the top level.
“I have been approached by Cymru Premier sides previously, and I was having good seasons at the time, but I was really enjoying my football at Ruthin, I knew it was a big step up and wasn’t sure I was ready, so I’ve just wanted to make sure I was ready to give it a go and I feel now is the right time to step up and try to make a difference.”
“I really enjoyed my time at Ruthin Town.”
Having first started representing the Clwyd club as an 11-year-old, Morris has had a relationship with the Memorial Playing Fields club for over half of his life, and developed a strong affinity with the club where he has progressed through the ranks.
Minus a brief hiatus to study at university, Morris’ journey with Ruthin has taken him from youth football to a first-team debut in the Wrexham and District League, to making a name for himself in the Cymru North, and the forward reflected very fondly on his time spent at the club.
“Playing for Ruthin Town has been fantastic for me, really – the set-up at the club has been ideal for my development. I played my youth football there from a young age, went straight into the development squad and eventually into the first team.
“When I broke into the first team squad, Ruthin were in the Wrexham and District league. I went away to university to study, and by the time I came back from studying they were in the Cymru North, so the club had grown and developed whilst I was away and it was great for me to come back to that.
“I love the club and I was lucky enough, because Ruthin recruit mainly local players and so on, to be friends with everyone in the team off the pitch as well as on it, so I just really enjoyed my time there. I like to think I’ll be back at the club someday, but we’ll see how it goes.
“I loved playing for Ruthin, and although I wanted to have a go at the Cymru Premier, I wouldn’t say I actively thought about going. I loved being a part of the community at the club, being involved with the boys as friends and seeing everyone out and about in the local area.
“For a small town with no budget or anything like that, we’ve done quite well in the last few years and I think being such a close community really helped us.
“Everybody knows how hard the players work, all the players know each other well and the fans do too, and it was really nice to see the comments wishing me well. I think they understand my decision to leave and step up to play at the highest level and test myself, and it has been nice to receive such nice messages from the fans.”
“The thought of playing in Europe is a bit surreal.”
It could be a very special month for the forward, who has a date with the Europa League to look forward to in the coming weeks – with Bala’s fate set to be decided in a draw tomorrow morning – and Morris admits that he never thought he’d see himself signing for a club playing in Europe.
“The thought of playing in Europe is a bit surreal, really – playing in Europe never crossed my mind when thinking about playing in the Cymru Premier. I knew I wanted to step up, but I never thought I’d be signing for such an established side in this league who are in Europe every year, almost.
“I’m really looking forward to the whole experience, and if it is a home tie then obviously that’ll be played at the Cardiff City Stadium so that will be another thing to tick off and say I’ve done.
“From the very first training session I realised just how high the standard is in this team, and I know I’m going to have to work hard to adapt to the speed of the game, the physicality at this level, the expectations and so on, but I just want to take it step by step, do my best and see how it goes.”
“He’s the best striker in the Cymru Premier.”
If Morris is to establish himself in the Maes Tegid frontline, he is going to have to dislodge one of the legends of our domestic game in Wales – Chris Venables.
The 34-year-old forward is showing no signs of slowing down, winning the 2019/20 JD Cymru Premier Golden Boot, and although it’ll be a tough task for Morris to make his way into the starting XI if Colin Caton is to continue playing with a lone striker, his new forward is at least looking forward to the challenge and to working with his strike partner.
“I started on the bench against Crewe Alexandra (in a pre-season friendly) over the weekend and Chris started, so I spent a lot of my time watching him and he’s just incredible. The way he controls the ball, the way he gets his teammates into the game, he never loses the ball, and you can just see the quality shine through.
“One of the reasons I’ve signed for the club is because I know there is a lot I can learn from him in all aspects of the game – he is the best striker in the Cymru Premier, so I can learn so much from him.
“I know he’s got about a foot in height on me, but I’m sure I can learn a lot from watching him and working with him and that’ll only help me develop my game too.”
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