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 Geraint Williams
Most caps Shaun MacDonald (25)
Top scorer Ched Evans (13)
FIFA code WAL
First colours
Second colours
First international
 England U-21 0–0 Wales U-21 Wales
(Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton; 15 December 1976)
Biggest win
Wales Wales U-21 6–2 Cyprus U-21 
(Ninian Park, Cardiff; 22 October 1993)
&
Wales Wales U-21 5–1 Luxembourg U-21 
(Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli; 31 March 2009)
Biggest defeat
 Italy U-21 8–1 Wales U-21 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 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.

Recent history[edit]

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 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.

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]

Players[edit]

Latest squad[edit]

Players born on or after 1 January 1994 are eligible for the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship.

Wales squad for the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship match against Bulgaria on 31 March 2015. Jordan Williams withdrew and was replaced by Dominic Smith. Declan John was called up to the senior team, and was replaced by Owain Jones. George Glendon and Jake Charles withdrew and were replaced by Declan Weeks and Declan John who rejoined the under-21s following Wales 3-0 defeat of Israel.[2]

Caps and goals as of 31 March 2015. 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 Christian Dibble (1994-05-11) 11 May 1994 (age 21) 1 0 England Barnsley
1GK Billy O'Brien (1995-11-22) 22 November 1995 (age 19) 0 0 England Manchester City
2DF Declan John (1995-06-30) 30 June 1995 (age 20) 3 0 Wales Cardiff City
2DF Jordan Evans (1995-09-23) 23 September 1995 (age 19) 1 0 England Fulham
2DF Gethin Jones (1995-10-13) 13 October 1995 (age 19) 2 0 England Plymouth Argyle
2DF Josh Yorwerth (1995-01-01) 1 January 1995 (age 20) 1 1 Wales Cardiff City
2DF Joseph Wright (1995-02-26) 26 February 1995 (age 20) 1 0 England Huddersfield Town
2DF Dominic Smith (1996-02-09) 9 February 1996 (age 19) 1 0 England Tamworth
2DF Liam Shephard (1994-11-22) 22 November 1994 (age 20) 0 0 Wales Swansea City
3MF Lee Evans (1994-07-24) 24 July 1994 (age 21) 7 2 England Wolverhampton Wanderers
3MF Tommy O'Sullivan (1995-01-18) 18 January 1995 (age 20) 6 2 Wales Cardiff City
3MF Josh Sheehan (1995-03-30) 30 March 1995 (age 20) 3 0 Wales Swansea City
3MF Declan Weeks (1995-11-15) 15 November 1995 (age 19) 1 0 England Wolverhampton Wanderers
4FW Wes Burns (1994-11-23) 23 November 1994 (age 20) 11 3 England Cheltenham Town
4FW Ellis Harrison (1994-01-29) 29 January 1994 (age 21) 5 1 England Bristol Rovers
4FW Ryan Hedges (1995-09-07) 7 September 1995 (age 19) 3 0 Wales Swansea City
4FW Harry Wilson (1997-03-22) 22 March 1997 (age 18) 1 0 England Liverpool
4FW Owain Jones (1996-10-01) 1 October 1996 (age 18) 0 0 Wales Swansea City

Recent call-ups[edit]

The following players have also been called up to the Wales under-21 squad and remain eligible (clubs as of when called up).

Name DOB Club Caps (goals) Most recent call-up
Goalkeepers
Defenders
Jordan Williams (1995-11-06) 6 November 1995 (age 19) England Notts County 1 (0) v  Bulgaria, 31 March 2015 (withdrew)
Elliott Hewitt (1994-05-30) 30 May 1994 (age 21) England Ipswich Town 10 (0) v  Lithuania, 9 September 2014
Adam Henley (1994-06-14) 14 June 1994 (age 21) England Blackburn Rovers 3 (0) v  England, 5 March 2014 (withdrew)
Jordan Holt (1994-05-04) 4 May 1994 (age 21) England Notts County 0 (0) v  San Marino, 15 October 2013
Alex Nicholson (1994-02-01) 1 February 1994 (age 21) England Preston North End 0 (0) v  Moldova, 22 March 2013
Aaron Oakley (1994-10-04) 4 October 1994 (age 20) England Swindon Town 1 (0) v Iceland Iceland, 6 February 2013
Midfielders
George Glendon (1995-05-03) 3 May 1995 (age 20) England Manchester City 0 (0) v  Bulgaria, 31 March 2015 (withdrew)
Billy Waters (1994-10-15) 15 October 1994 (age 20) England Crewe Alexandra 0 (0) v  Finland, 5 September 2014 (standby)
Alex Bray (1995-07-25) 25 July 1995 (age 20) Wales Swansea City 0 (0) v  Finland, 5 September 2014 (standby)
George Williams (1995-09-07) 7 September 1995 (age 19) England Fulham 2 (0) v  England, 19 May 2014
Chris Dawson (1994-09-02) 2 September 1994 (age 20) England Leeds United 2 (0) v  Finland, 14 August 2013
Louis Thompson (1994-12-19) 19 December 1994 (age 20) England Swindon Town 0 (0) v  Moldova, 22 March 2013
Forwards
Jake Charles (1996-02-16) 16 February 1996 (age 19) England Huddersfield Town 0 (0) v  Bulgaria, 31 March 2015 (withdrew)
Bradley Reid (1995-10-15) 15 October 1995 (age 19) England Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 (0) v  Lithuania, 9 September 2014
James Loveridge (1994-05-16) 16 May 1994 (age 21) Wales Swansea City 0 (0) v  England, 19 May 2014
Tom Lawrence (1994-01-13) 13 January 1994 (age 21) England Leicester City 8 (3) v  England, 19 May 2014 (withdrew)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Williams appointed to Wales Under 21
  2. ^ "WILLIAMS NAMES SQUAD AHEAD OF U21 CHAMPIONSHIPS OPENER". faw.org.uk. Football Association of Wales. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 

External links[edit]