Flynn calls on Wales's leading men for Under-21 centenary
Friday 25 April 2008
Wales will play their 100th Under-21 international against England next month with a squad including an unprecedented six senior internationals.
The game, at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground on 15 May, will be used by senior team coach John Toshack virtually as a warm-up for the forthcoming full internationals in Iceland and the Netherlands.
Such is the youthfulness of the Wales senior squad now, many of the Under-21s are inter-changeable.
Now Under-21 coach Brian Flynn has included senior players Wayne Hennessey, Chris Gunter, Neal Eardley, David Cotterill, Lewin Nyatanga and David Edwards in the squad to face England, who were also Wales's first opponents at this level in 1976.
Flynn has arguably the strongest Under-21 squad in his country's history, and the likes of Jack Collison, Sam Vokes and Ched Evans are expected to be called up for the Iceland and Netherlands games for the first time. Wales's progress at Under-21 level has taken the side to the brink of reaching the play-offs for the Uefa Championships to be held in Sweden next year. And they could even be drawn against England in a two-leg play-off in November.
Flynn has not included Cardiff's Joe Ledley and Aaron Ramsey because they will be playing in the FA Cup final, while Swansea's Joe Allen is left out because he is suspended for the next group match against Romania.
Flynn said: "It is an important match when you are able to use England as a warm-up game and an indication of how far we've come. I remember it was at Wrexham that they beat us 4-0 in a European Championship game three years ago.
"We didn't deserve a 4-0 defeat because we played very well on the night, but all credit to the lads who have come through since then and I could have produced two squads for this match. It's great to have that sort of strength in depth. In many respects the senior internationals have come in to replace the Cardiff lads."
Wales Under-21 squad to play England at Wrexham, 15 May: Hennessey (Wolves), Fon Williams (Crewe), Eardley (Oldham), Gunter (Tottenham), Jacobson (Bristol Rovers), Nyatanga (Derby), Ribeiro (Bristol City), M Williams (Wrexham), R Williams (Middlesbrough), Adams (Bury), Bradley (Walsall), Collison (West Ham), Edwards (Wolves), MacDonald (Swansea), Church (Reading), Cotterill (Wigan), Evans (Manchester City), Vokes (Bournemouth).
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