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 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 Bulgaria and Romania on 25 and 29 March 2015. Liam Shephard, Harry Wilson, Daniel James and Louis Thompson withdrew and were replaced by Connor Roberts, Declan Weeks and Theo Wharton respectively.
Caps and goals as of 29 March 2016. Players in bold have attained full international caps. Clubs as of the date of the announcement.
|#||Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club
|GK||Billy O'Brien||22 November 1995||6||0||Manchester City|
|GK||Michael Crowe||13 November 1995||0||0||Ipswich Town|
|DF||Declan John||30 June 1995||8||0||Chesterfield (loan)|
|DF||Josh Yorwerth||1 January 1995||7||1||Crawley Town (loan)|
|DF||Gethin Jones||13 October 1995||6||0||Everton|
|DF||Tom Lockyer||3 December 1994||5||0||Bristol Rovers|
|DF||Jordan Evans||23 September 1995||4||0||Oxford United (loan)|
|DF||Dominic Smith||9 February 1996||1||0||Shrewsbury Town|
|DF||Connor Roberts||23 September 1995||1||0||Yeovil Town (loan)|
|MF||Lee Evans||24 July 1994||13||2||Bradford City (loan)|
|MF||Tommy O'Sullivan||18 January 1995||12||2||Newport County (loan)|
|MF||Josh Sheehan||30 March 1995||9||0||Swansea City|
|MF||Declan Weeks||15 November 1995||2||0||Wolverhampton Wanderers|
|MF||Theo Wharton||15 November 1994||1||0||Cardiff City|
|FW||Wes Burns||23 November 1994||16||6||Fleetwood Town (loan)|
|FW||Ellis Harrison||29 January 1994||11||2||Bristol Rovers|
|FW||Ryan Hedges||8 July 1995||9||0||Stevenage (loan)|
|FW||Jake Charles||16 February 1996||6||1||Huddersfield Town|
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|
|Liam Shephard||22 November 1994||Swansea City||2 (0)||v Bulgaria, 25 March 2016 (withdrew)|
|Joe Wright||26 February 1995||Doncaster Rovers||2 (0)||v Romania, 17 November 2015|
|Jordan Williams||6 November 1995||Swindon Town (loan)||1 (0)||v Denmark, 9 October 2015 (withdrew)|
|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|
|Louis Thompson||19 December 1994||Swindon Town (loan)||2 (0)||v Bulgaria, 25 March 2016 (withdrew)|
|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||Oldham Athletic (loan)||2 (0)||v England, 19 May 2014|
|Chris Dawson||2 September 1994||Rotherham United||2 (0)||v Finland, 14 August 2013|
|Daniel James||10 November 1997||Swansea City||0 (0)||v Bulgaria, 25 March 2016 (withdrew)|
|Harry Wilson||22 March 1997||Liverpool||5 (2)||v Bulgaria, 25 March 2016 (withdrew)|
|Callum Saunders||26 September 1995||Crewe Alexandra||1 (0)||v Romania, 17 November 2015|
|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||Port Talbot Town||0 (0)||v England, 19 May 2014|
|Tom Lawrence||13 January 1994||Cardiff City (loan)||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
- Williams appointed to Wales Under 21
- "WALES U21 SQUAD ANNOUNCED FOR CRUCIAL QUALIFIERS". faw.org.uk. Football Association of Wales. 11 March 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016.