Wales national under-21 football team
|Association||Football Association of Wales|
|Head coach||Geraint Williams|
|Most caps||Shaun MacDonald (25)|
|Top scorer||Ched Evans (13)|
| England U-21 0–0 Wales U-21
(Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton; 15 December 1976)
| Wales U-21 6–2 Cyprus U-21
(Ninian Park, Cardiff; 22 October 1993)
Wales U-21 5–1 Luxembourg U-21
(Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli; 31 March 2009)
| Italy U-21 8–1 Wales U-21
(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 championship 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 U-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.
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 young players who subsequently have made the step from the U21's to regular selection for the senior squad are Lewin Nyatanga, Joe Ledley, Chris Gunter, Gareth Bale, Sam Vokes, Ched Evans, Simon Church, Wayne Hennessey, David Cotterill, Neal Eardley, Andrew Crofts, David Edwards, Jack Collison, Andy King, Craig Morgan, Neil Taylor, Darcy Blake 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 U-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.
Players born on or after 1 January 1992 are eligible for the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship.
On 24 February 2014, Geraint Williams named a 16-man squad for the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship match against England on 5 March 2014. Emyr Huws missed out after being named in the Wales senior squad for their game against Iceland on 5 March, while Lloyd Isgrove returned to the under-21s after being part of the senior team for their 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Belgium in October 2013. Cardiff City's Declan John received his first under-21 call-up. George Ray, Billy Bodin, Adam Henley and Daniel Alfei withdrew due to injury and were replaced by Scott Tancock, George Williams, Kieron Freeman and Elliott Hewitt.
Caps and goals as of 5 March 2014. Players in bold have attained full international caps.
The following players have also been called up to the Wales under-21 squad and remain eligible (current clubs as of 5 March 2014 shown).
|Name||DOB||Club||Caps (goals)||Most recent call-up|
|Danny Ward||22 June 1993||Liverpool||4 (0)||v San Marino, 15 October 2013|
|Jordan Holt||4 May 1994||Gateshead||0 (0)||v San Marino, 15 October 2013|
|Jonathan Meades||2 March 1992||Oxford United||4 (0)||v Moldova, 22 March 2013|
|Alex Nicholson||1 February 1994||Preston North End||0 (0)||v Moldova, 22 March 2013|
|Aaron Oakley||4 October 1994||Swindon Town||1 (0)||v Iceland, 6 February 2013|
|Ben Davies||24 April 1993||Swansea City||0 (0)||v Czech Republic, 10 September 2012|
|Tom Bender||19 January 1993||Welling United||4 (0)||v Andorra, 29 February 2012|
|Alex Evans||17 September 1992||Afan Lido||0 (0)||v Czech Republic, 11 October 2011|
|Adam Matthews||13 January 1992||Celtic||6 (0)||v Andorra, 29 March 2011|
|Emyr Huws||30 September 1993||Manchester City||6 (1)||v Moldova, 10 September 2013|
|Chris Dawson||2 September 1994||Leeds United||2 (0)||v Finland, 14 August 2013|
|Louis Thompson||19 December 1994||Swindon Town||0 (0)||v Moldova, 22 March 2013|
|Jonathan Williams||9 October 1993||Crystal Palace||7 (1)||v Iceland, 6 February 2013|
|Michael Doughty||20 November 1992||Stevenage (loan)||1 (0)||v Czech Republic, 10 September 2012|
|Reece Jones||22 July 1992||Unattached||0 (0)||v Hungary, 10 August 2011|
|Ellis Harrison||29 January 1994||Bristol Rovers||2 (1)||v San Marino, 15 October 2013|
|Bradley Reid||15 October 1995||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0 (0)||v Lithuania, 11 October 2013|
|Tom Bradshaw||27 July 1992||Shrewsbury Town||8 (1)||v Moldova, 10 September 2013|
|Jake Cassidy||9 February 1993||Tranmere Rovers (loan)||8 (0)||v Moldova, 10 September 2013|
|Theo Wharton||15 November 1994||Cardiff City||0 (0)||v Moldova, 22 March 2013|
|Elliott Chamberlain||29 April 1992||Exeter City||9 (1)||v Andorra, 29 February 2012|
|Richard Peniket||4 March 1993||Tamworth||1 (0)||v Hungary, 10 August 2011|
Fixtures and results
NB: Ranking of second placed teams. Because some groups contain six teams and some five, matches against the sixth-placed team in each group are not included in the ranking of second placed teams.
22 March 2013
|Wales||1 – 0||Moldova|
14 August 2013
|Wales||1 – 5||Finland|
|Huws 47' (pen.)||Report||Kastrati 7'
Väyrynen 11', 30', 57'
6 September 2013
|San Marino||1 – 0||Wales|
10 September 2013
|Moldova||0 – 0||Wales|
11 October 2013
|Wales||2 – 0||Lithuania|
|Lawrence 21' (pen.), 40' (pen.)||Report|
15 October 2013
5 March 2014
19 May 2014
5 September 2014
9 September 2014
- Wales national football team
- Wales national under-19 football team
- Wales national under-17 football team
- UEFA Under-21 website Contains full results archive.
- The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation Contains full record of U-21/U-23 Championships.
- Football Association of Wales Contains fixtures/results and news for every Welsh national football team.