Wales national under-21 football team

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.

Wales Under-21
Nickname(s)Young Dragons
AssociationFootball Association of Wales
ConfederationUEFA (Europe)
Head coachPaul Bodin
Most capsShaun MacDonald (25)
Top scorerChed Evans (13)
FIFA codeWAL
First colours
Second colours
First international
 England 0–0 Wales 
(Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton; 15 December 1976)
Biggest win
 Wales 6–2 Cyprus 
(Ninian Park, Cardiff; 22 October 1993)
&
 Wales 5–1 Luxembourg 
(Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli; 31 March 2009)
Biggest defeat
 Italy 8–1 Wales 
(Stadio Pietro Fortunati, Pavia; 5 September 2003)
UEFA U-21 Championship
AppearancesNone (first in n/a)
Best result1st of 5 in qual.
group, 2009. Lost in play off.

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

Historically the team was viewed by the Welsh national management as a hole to be filled rather than a team to be used to nurture young international players. Many of the great Welsh players spent little time 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 U21s 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, Aaron Ramsey, Neil Taylor and Joe Allen.

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. In August 2019 Page was appointed assistant coach to the senior Wales squad under Ryan Giggs with Paul Bodin stepping up from the Under 19's to manage the Under 21 team.[2]

Players

Latest squad

Players born on or after 1 January 1998 are eligible for the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

Wales squad for the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification match against Bosnia and Herzegovina on 19 November 2019 .[3]

Caps and goals as of 19 November 2019. Players in bold have attained full international caps. Clubs as of the date of the announcement.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Adam Przybek (2000-04-02) 2 April 2000 1 0 Ipswich Town
1GK George Ratcliffe (2000-09-12) 12 September 2000 4 0 Barry Town United
2DF Cameron Coxe (1998-12-18) 18 December 1998 13 0 Cardiff City
2DF Rhys Norrington-Davies (1999-04-22) 22 April 1999 14 0 Rochdale
2DF Aaron Lewis (1998-06-26) 26 June 1998 10 1 Lincoln City
2DF Brandon Cooper (2000-01-14) 14 January 2000 5 0 Swansea City
2DF Ben Cabango (2000-05-30) 30 May 2000 5 0 Swansea City
2DF Joe Lewis (1999-09-20) 20 September 1999 0 0 Torquay United
2DF Ben Williams (1999-03-31) 31 March 1999 0 0 Barnsley
3MF Jack Evans (1998-04-25) 25 April 1998 12 0 Swansea City
3MF Robbie Burton (1999-12-26) 26 December 1999 8 0 Arsenal
3MF Harry Clifton (1998-06-12) 12 June 1998 3 0 Grimsby
3MF Dan Mooney (1999-07-03) 3 July 1999 4 0 Fleetwood Town
3MF Brennan Johnson (2001-05-23) 23 May 2001 4 1 Nottingham Forest
3MF Ryan Stirk (2000-09-25) 25 September 2000 2 0 Birmingham City
3MF Terry Taylor (2001-06-21) 21 June 2001 1 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
4FW Liam Cullen (1999-04-23) 23 April 1999 8 1 Swansea City
4FW Mark Harris (1998-12-29) 29 December 1998 17 2 Wrexham
4FW Nathan Broadhead (1998-04-05) 5 April 1998 14 1 Burton Albion
4FW Jack Vale (2001-03-03) 3 March 2001 1 0 Blackburn Rovers

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
Kelland Absalom (1998-05-21) 21 May 1998Unattached1 (0)vs.  Albania, 11 June 2019
Niall Clayton (1999-02-17) 17 February 1999Unattached0 (0)Training squad, 22 March 2019
Rhys Davies (1999-11-27) 27 November 1999 Leicester City0 (0)Training squad, 22 March 2019
Defenders
Regan Poole (1998-06-18) 18 June 1998 Milton Keynes Dons19 (0)vs.  Moldova, 11 October 2019 Senior
Cole Dasilva (1999-05-11) 11 May 1999 Brentford3 (0)vs.  Germany, 10 September 2019
Ryan Sears (1998-12-30) 30 December 1998 Shrewsbury Town0 (0)Training squad, 22 March 2019
Joseph Low (2002-02-20) 20 February 2002 Bristol City0 (0)Training squad, 22 March 2019
Rhys Abbruzzese (1998-03-23) 23 March 1998 Barry Town United3 (0)vs.  Liechtenstein, 5 October 2017
Jordan Davies (1998-08-18) 18 August 1998 Brighton and Hove Albion0 (0)Training squad, 22 March 2019
Midfielders
Ben Woodburn (1999-09-15) 15 September 1999 Oxford United0 (0)vs.  Moldova, 11 October 2019 WD
Oliver Cooper (1999-12-14) 14 December 1999 Swansea City2 (0)vs.  Germany, 10 September 2019
Tom Price (1999-11-26) 26 November 1999 Swansea City1 (0)vs.  Albania, 11 June 2019
Alex Babos (1998-01-21) 21 January 1998 Derby County7 (0)vs.  Albania, 11 June 2019
Tom Pugh (2000-09-27) 27 September 2000 Scunthorpe United2 (1)vs.  Albania, 11 June 2019
Morgan Roberts (2000-12-22) 22 December 2000 Northampton Town0 (0)Training squad, 22 March 2019
Aaron Heap (2000-05-14) 14 May 2000 Oxford United0 (0)Training squad, 22 March 2019
Matthew Smith (1999-11-22) 22 November 1999 Queens Park Rangers5 (1)vs.  Romania, 14 November 2017
Sion Spence (2000-11-02) 2 November 2000 Barry Town0 (0)vs.  Moldova, 11 October 2019
Kieran Evans (1999-03-27) 27 March 1999 Swansea City2 (0)vs.  Moldova, 11 October 2019
Dylan Levitt (2000-11-17) 17 November 2000 Manchester United1 (0)vs.  Moldova, 11 October 2019
Forwards
Niall Huggins (2000-12-18) 18 December 2000 Leeds United1 (0)vs.  Germany, 10 September 2019
Momodou Touray (1999-07-03) 3 July 1999 Barry Town United3 (0)vs.  Albania, 11 June 2019
James Waite (1999-05-11) 11 May 1999 Cardiff City0 (0)Training squad, 22 March 2019
Tyler Roberts (1999-02-16) 16 February 1999 Leeds United5 (1)vs.  Romania, 14 November 2017

See also

References

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