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The Wales national under-21 football team is the national under-21 football team of Walesmarker and is controlled by the Football Association of Wales. The team competes in the UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship, held every two years.

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 Stadiummarker 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.

Recent history

The current manager is Brian Flynn, who previously managed two Welsh club sides playing in the English leagues: Wrexham and Swansea City. He also had previously coached the Under-21 team for a while in the early nineties.

Some of the most successful players to emerge from the under-21 team recently have been Lewin Nyatanga, Derby County's Young Player of the Year for 2005–06, Blackpool defender Neal Eardley, Cardiff City midfielder Joe Ledley, Chris Gunter of Nottingham Forest and Tottenham Hotspur left back Gareth Bale. Other recent young "graduates" who have made senior debuts include West Ham's 2008-09 Young Hammer of the Year Jack Collison, 2009 Wales Young Player of the Year winner Aaron Ramsey and strikers Sam Vokes and Ched Evans.

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.

More recently however, Wales's current manager, John Toshack and youth manager Brian Flynn have been seen to use the U21 team for the purpose of creating a pool of youthful Welsh talent. The team can now boast a much better tracking system of young Welsh players, and has seen a marked improvement in players and their playing. Recent results have seen them achieve big wins against Estonia (5–1), Northern Ireland (4–0) and France (4–2).

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 Swedenmarker. 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 2011 European Under-21 Championship with a goalless draw against Luxembourg, followed by wins over Hungary (4–1) and Luxembourg (5–1). Wales later continued their excellent start to the campaign with wins over Italy (2–1) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (2–0) at the Racecourse Groundmarker.

Current squad

Wales' squad for the qualifying match against Bosnia and Herzegovina was announced on 30 October. Brian Flynn named 23 player squad, including several senior internationals. Joe Allen, Adam Matthews and Darcy Blake all later withdrew from the squad to join up with the senior squad but eventually returned to the squad

  • Caps and goals are accurate as of the match played on 10 October 2009. Ages are accurate as of squad announcement on 30 October 2009


  • Players with full international caps in bold.


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
Rhys Taylor 7 April 1990 (age 19) Chelsea 1 (0) v. Luxembourg, 27 March 2009
Defenders
Kai Edwards 29 January 1991 (age 18) Wrexham 0 (0) v. Northern Ireland, 10 February 2009
Midfielders
Billy Bodin 24 March 1992 (age 17) Swindon Town 0 (0) v. Northern Ireland, 10 February 2009
Forwards
Kayne McLaggon 21 September 1990 (age 19) Southampton 0 (0) v. Luxembourg, 27 March 2009
Jordan Follows 23 March 1990 (age 19) Llanelli 0 (0) v. Northern Ireland, 10 February 2009


References



See also



External links




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