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)
|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.
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.
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 matches against Armenia and Romania on 13 and 17 November 2015. Gethin Jones withdrew through injury and was replaced by Owain Jones. Owain Jones was later replaced by Callum Saunders.
Caps and goals as of 17 November 2015. Players in bold have attained full international caps. Clubs as of the date of the announcement.
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|
|Christian Dibble||11 May 1994||Barnsley||1 (0)||v Bulgaria, 31 March 2015|
|Gethin Jones||13 October 1995||Everton||4 (0)||v Armenia, 13 November 2015 (withdrew)|
|Jordan Williams||6 November 1995||Swindon Town (on loan from Liverpool)||1 (0)||v Denmark, 9 October 2015 (withdrew)|
|Dominic Smith||9 February 1996||Shrewsbury Town||1 (0)||v Luxembourg, 4 September 2015|
|Elliott Hewitt||30 May 1994||Notts County||10 (0)||v Lithuania, 9 September 2014|
|Adam Henley||14 June 1994||Blackburn Rovers||3 (0)||v England, 5 March 2014 (withdrew)|
|Jordan Holt||4 May 1994||Free Agent||0 (0)||v San Marino, 15 October 2013|
|Alex Nicholson||1 February 1994||Blyth Spartans||0 (0)||v Moldova, 22 March 2013|
|Aaron Oakley||4 October 1994||Free Agent||1 (0)||v Iceland, 6 February 2013|
|Declan Weeks||15 November 1995||Wolverhampton Wanderers||1 (0)||v Bulgaria, 31 March 2015|
|George Glendon||3 May 1995||Manchester City||0 (0)||v Bulgaria, 31 March 2015 (withdrew)|
|Billy Waters||15 October 1994||Cheltenham Town||0 (0)||v Finland, 5 September 2014 (standby)|
|Alex Bray||25 July 1995||Swansea City||0 (0)||v Finland, 5 September 2014 (standby)|
|George Williams||7 September 1995||Fulham||2 (0)||v England, 19 May 2014|
|Chris Dawson||2 September 1994||Leeds United||2 (0)||v Finland, 14 August 2013|
|Owain Jones||1 October 1996||Swansea City||1 (0)||v Armenia, 13 November 2015|
|Bradley Reid||15 October 1995||Wolverhampton Wanderers||1 (0)||v Lithuania, 9 September 2014|
|James Loveridge||16 May 1994||Swansea City||0 (0)||v England, 19 May 2014|
|Tom Lawrence||13 January 1994||Blackburn Rovers (on loan from Leicester City)||8 (3)||v England, 19 May 2014 (withdrew)|
- UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship
- Football Association of Wales
- 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.