Wales national under-21 football team
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.
|Association||Football Association of Wales|
|Head coach||Rob Page|
|Most caps||Shaun MacDonald (25)|
|Top scorer||Ched Evans (13)|
| England U21 0–0 Wales U21 |
(Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton; 15 December 1976)
| Wales U21 6–2 Cyprus U21 |
(Ninian Park, Cardiff; 22 October 1993)
Wales U21 5–1 Luxembourg U21
(Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli; 31 March 2009)
| Italy U21 8–1 Wales U21 |
(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 under-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 U21s 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 Under-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  Williams resigned as team manager on 5 December 2016. On 15 March 2017 it was announced that former Port Vale and Northampton Town manager Rob Page had left his position on the coaching staff at Nottingham Forest to become Wales under-21 manager.
Players born on or after 1 January 1998 are eligible for the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
Caps and goals as of 11 June 2019. Players in bold have attained full international caps. Clubs as of the date of the announcement.
|No.||Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club|
|GK||Kelland Absalon||1 May 1998||1||0||Ostersunds FK|
|GK||George Ratcliffe||12 September 2000||1||0||Cardiff City|
|DF||Cameron Coxe||18 December 1998||10||0||Cardiff City|
|DF||Regan Poole||18 June 1998||17||0||Manchester United|
|DF||Rhys Norrington-Davies||22 April 1999||6||0||Sheffield United|
|DF||Cole DaSilva||11 May 1999||2||0||Brentford|
|DF||Brandon Cooper||14 January 2000||4||0||Swansea City|
|DF||Ben Cabango||30 May 2000||1||0||Swansea City|
|DF||Aaron Lewis||26 June 1998||2||1||Swansea City|
|DF||Jack Evans||25 April 1998||2||0||Swansea City|
|MF||Harry Clifton||12 June 1998||2||0||Grimsby|
|MF||Dan Mooney||3 July 1999||1||0||Fleetwood Town|
|MF||Robbie Burton||26 December 1999||2||0||Arsenal|
|MF||Kieran Evans||27 March 1999||1||0||Swansea City|
|MF||Tom Price||26 November 1999||1||0||Swansea City|
|MF||Alex Babos||21 January 1998||3||0||Derby County|
|MF||Tom Pugh||27 September 2000||2||1||Scunthorpe United|
|MF||Nathan Broadhead||5 April 1998||8||0||Everton|
|FW||Momodou Touray||30 July 1999||2||0||Newport County|
|FW||Mark Harris||29 December 1998||13||1||Cardiff City|
|FW||Liam Cullen||23 April 1999||4||0||Swansea City|
|FW||Niall Huggins||18 December 2000||1||0||Leeds United|
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|
|Niall Clayton||17 February 1999||Oxford United||0 (0)||Training squad, 22 March 2019|
|Rhys Davies||27 November 1999||Leicester City||0 (0)||Training squad, 22 March 2019|
|Ryan Sears||30 December 1998||Shrewsbury Town||0 (0)||Training squad, 22 March 2019|
|Ben Williams||31 March 1999||Barnsley||0 (0)||Training squad, 22 March 2019|
|Joseph Low||20 February 2002||Bristol City||0 (0)||Training squad, 22 March 2019|
|Rhys Abbruzzese||23 March 1998||Cardiff City||3(0)||vs. Liechtenstein, 5 October 2017|
|Jordan Davies||18 August 1998||Brighton & Hove Albion||0 (0)||Training squad, 22 March 2019|
|Morgan Roberts||22 December 2000||Northampton Town||0 (0)||Training squad, 22 March 2019|
|Oliver Cooper||14 December 1999||Swansea City||0 (0)||Training squad, 22 March 2019|
|Aaron Heap||14 May 2000||Oxford United||0 (0)||Training squad, 22 March 2019|
|Matthew Smith||22 November 1999||Manchester City||5 (1)||vs. Romania, 14 November 2017|
|James Waite||11 May 1999||Cardiff City||0 (0)||Training squad, 22 March 2019|
|Tyler Roberts||16 February 1999||Leeds United||5 (1)||vs. Romania, 14 November 2017|