Friday, March 27, 2009

New Wales U21 football squad

WALES U21 coach Brian Flynn sends out a new wave of raw youngsters tonight as he starts building all over again for his country’s football future.

Flynn’s side play their first match of a new Uefa Championship campaign away to Luxembourg, having been denied the chance of a warm-up friendly in Northern Ireland last month because of a frozen pitch.

It will be the U21s’ first match since their play-off with England in October, a 5-4 aggregate defeat which saw Flynn’s young stars do themselves proud but ultimately fail to reach this summer’s European finals in Sweden.

But now the bulk of that squad are too old for the new Uefa tournament.

Flynn said: “This is a new dawn, a new beginning for these lads. They will have a lot to live up to after what the previous squad achieved, but I have high hopes for them.”

Flynn has seen a raft of bright youngsters progress into John Toshack’s senior squad and will hope many of the teenagers who will play against Luxembourg – the return match will be played in Llanelli next Tuesday – will follow in those footsteps.

Flynn now has to do without Wayne Hennessey, Jack Collison, Gareth Bale, Chris Gunter, Aaron Ramsey, Lewin Nyatanga, Neal Eardley, David Edwards, Sam Vokes and Ched Evans, who have all made it into the full squad.

Of that team who took on England in the second leg of the play-offs at Villa Park, just four are still involved with the U21s.

That quartet – Cardiff’s Darcy Blake, Swansea winger Shaun MacDonald, Leicester’s Andy King and Reading’s Simon Church – will become the spine of Flynn’s new squad.

Football Association of Wales spokesman Ceri Stennett said: “Brian has done a great job bringing through players, and now he has another group to work with.

“The fact that we won our qualifying group last time and reached the play-offs means we have been seeded and received what we feel is a favourable draw.”

Article reproduced from Wales Online

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