Wales national under-21 football team

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Wales Under-21
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Young Dragons
Association Football Association of Wales
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Head coach Rob Page
Most caps Shaun MacDonald (25)
Top scorer Ched Evans (13)
FIFA code WAL
First colours
Second colours
Third colours
First international
 England U21 0–0 Wales U21 Wales
(Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton; 15 December 1976)
Biggest win
Wales Wales U21 6–2 Cyprus U21 
(Ninian Park, Cardiff; 22 October 1993)
&
Wales Wales U21 5–1 Luxembourg U21 
(Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli; 31 March 2009)
Biggest defeat
 Italy U21 8–1 Wales U21 Wales
(Stadio Pietro Fortunati, Pavia; 5 September 2003)
UEFA U-21 Championship
Appearances None (first in n/a)
Best result 1st of 5 in qual.
group, 2009. Lost in play off.

The Wales national under-21 football team, also known as the Wales U21s, is the national under-21 football team of Wales and is controlled by the Football Association of Wales. The team competes in the UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship, held every two years. To date Wales haven't yet qualified for the finals tournament but in recent years have shown good form, losing in a playoff (5–4) to England in the 2009 qualifying campaign and finishing second in their group two years later, after leading their group until their last game Wales only needed a draw to qualify for the play-offs but lost 1–0 away to Italy.

The under-21 team came into existence following the realignment of UEFA's youth competitions in 1976. A goalless draw in a friendly against England at Wolverhampton Wanderers' Molineux Stadium was Wales U21s' first result.

The national under-21 team is the highest level of youth football in Wales, and is open to any players who were born in Wales or whose parents or grandparents were born in Wales. This team is for Welsh players aged 21 or under at the start of a two-year European Under-21 Football Championship campaign, so players can be, and often are, up to 23 years old. Also in existence are teams for Under-20s (for non-UEFA tournaments), Under-19s and Under 17s. As long as they are eligible, players can play at any level, making it possible to play for the U21s, senior side and again for the U21s.

Recent history

In recent decades, the team has been viewed by the Welsh national management as more of a hole to be filled than a team to be used to nurture young international players, many of the great Welsh players of recent years having not spent long in the under-21 team. Ryan Giggs only made one appearance for the under-21 team before making his senior debut against Germany the next day.

From 2004 onward however, the former Wales national football team manager John Toshack and former Wales Under 21 manager Brian Flynn used the under-21 team to create a pool of youthful Welsh talent. The team now has a much better tracking system of young Welsh players, and has seen a marked improvement in players and team results. Recent results have seen them achieve big wins against Estonia (5–1), Northern Ireland (4–0) and France (4–2).

Some of the players who have made the step from the U21's to attain over 25 caps for the senior squad are Lewin Nyatanga, Joe Ledley, Chris Gunter, Gareth Bale, Sam Vokes, Simon Church, Wayne Hennessey, David Vaughan, Andrew Crofts, David Edwards, Andy King and Aaron Ramsey.

On 15 May 2008, they played a friendly against England U21s to mark the 100th match in the history of the side, losing 2–0.

A 3–0 victory against Romania in September 2008 meant that the Under-21 side finished top of their qualifying group for the first time in their history. It meant Wales would go into a two-legged play-off against England in October 2008 for a place in the finals of the 2009 UEFA Under-21 Championship to be played in Sweden. Wales lost the playoff 5–4 over the course of two legs. Losing 3–2 at home in the first leg and drawing 2–2 away in the second.

Wales started their qualifying campaign for the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship with a 1-0 away win against Andorra, a 3-1 away loss against Montenegro, a 1-0 home win against Montenegro, a 1-0 home defeat against Czech Republic and a 0-0 away draw against Armenia.

In May 2012 Brian Flynn vacated his position as Wales under-21 manager at the end of his contract and in July 2012 Geraint Williams was appointed team manager [1] Williams resigned as team manager on 5 December 2016. On 15 March 2017 it was announced that former Port Vale and Northampton Town manager Rob Page had left his position on the coaching staff at Nottingham Forest to become Wales under-21 manager.

Players

Latest squad

Players born on or after 1 January 1996 are eligible for the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

Wales squad for the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group 8 matches against Leichtenstein on 5 October 2017. David Brooks was unavailable due to his call-up to the senior squad, whilst Chris Mepham was suspended. Aron Davies returned to the squad and Rabbi Matondo was handed his first call-up.[2]

Caps and goals as of 5 October 2017. Players in bold have attained full international caps. Clubs as of the date of the announcement.

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Luke Pilling (1997-07-25) 25 July 1997 (age 20) 3 0 England Tranmere Rovers
1GK Owen Evans (1996-11-28) 28 November 1996 (age 20) 0 0 England Wigan Athletic
2DF Cole Dasilva (1999-05-11) 11 May 1999 (age 18) 0 0 England Chelsea
2DF Cameron Coxe (1998-12-18) 18 December 1998 (age 18) 3 0 Wales Cardiff City
2DF Aron Davies (1997-09-05) 5 September 1997 (age 20) 0 0 England Fulham
2DF Cian Harries (1997-04-01) 1 April 1997 (age 20) 1 0 Wales Swansea City
2DF Rhys Abbruzzese (1998-03-23) 23 March 1998 (age 19) 3 0 Wales Cardiff City
2DF Joe Rodon (1997-10-22) 22 October 1997 (age 19) 4 0 Wales Swansea City
3MF Regan Poole (1998-06-18) 18 June 1998 (age 19) 5 0 England Northampton Town (loan)
3MF Matthew Smith (1999-11-22) 22 November 1999 (age 17) 3 1 England Manchester City
3MF Nathan Broadhead (1998-04-05) 5 April 1998 (age 19) 3 0 England Everton
3MF Jack Evans (1998-04-25) 25 April 1998 (age 19) 3 0 Wales Swansea City
3MF Mark Harris (1998-12-29) 29 December 1998 (age 18) 3 0 Wales Cardiff City
3MF Joe Morrell (1997-01-03) 3 January 1997 (age 20) 1 0 England Cheltenham Town (loan)
4FW Tyler Roberts (1999-01-12) 12 January 1999 (age 18) 3 1 England Walsall (loan)
4FW George Thomas (1997-03-24) 24 March 1997 (age 20) 3 3 England Leicester City
4FW Daniel James (1997-11-10) 10 November 1997 (age 19) 4 0 Wales Swansea City
4FW Rabbi Matondo (2000-09-09) 9 September 2000 (age 17) 1 0 England Manchester City

Recent call-ups

The following players have also been called up to the Wales under-21 squad and remain eligible.

Name DOB Club Caps (goals) Most recent call-up
Goalkeepers
Defenders
Chris Mepham (1997-11-05) 5 November 1997 (age 19) England Brentford 2 (0) vs.  Portugal, 5 September 2017
Dominic Smith (1996-02-09) 9 February 1996 (age 21) England Shrewsbury Town 2 (0) vs.  Armenia, 11 October 2016
Midfielders
David Brooks (1997-07-08) 8 July 1997 (age 20) England Sheffield United 2 (1) vs.  Portugal, 5 September 2017
Forwards
Liam Cullen (1999-04-23) 23 April 1999 (age 18) Wales Swansea City 0 (0) vs.  Portugal, 5 September 2017
Harry Wilson (1997-03-22) 22 March 1997 (age 20) England Liverpool 7 (2) vs.   Switzerland, 1 September 2017
Jake Charles (1996-02-16) 16 February 1996 (age 21) England Barnsley 8 (2) vs.  Armenia, 11 October 2016
Owain Jones (1996-10-01) 1 October 1996 (age 21) England Yeovil Town 1 (0) vs.  Armenia, 11 October 2016

See also

References

  1. ^ Williams appointed to Wales Under 21
  2. ^ "WALES U21 SQUAD NAMED FOR EURO QUALIFIER". faw.org.uk. Football Association of Wales. 28 September 2017. Retrieved 28 September 2017. 

External links

  • UEFA Under-21 website Contains full results archive.
  • The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation Contains full record of U21/U23 Championships.
  • Football Association of Wales Contains fixtures/results and news for every Welsh national football team.
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