Hodges' new-look side impresses in Latvia draw

Latvia Under-21 0 - Wales Under-21 0
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The Independent Football

The new Wales Under-21 manager Glyn Hodges saw plenty to give him encouragement for the future when his new-look side battled hard for a deserved draw.

The new Wales Under-21 manager Glyn Hodges saw plenty to give him encouragement for the future when his new-look side battled hard for a deserved draw.

It was the first time his young team had played together, and they produced an organised and spirited performance that augers well for the Uefa qualifiers next month and the trip to play England at Blackburn in October. Hodges gave a dozen youngsters their first caps and must have been impressed with Danny Parslow - one of four new Cardiff caps - at the back, the goalkeeper Lewis Price, Lee Fowler and another Cardiff debutant, Nicky Fish.

They had to hang on in the end as the Latvians built up a head of steam at the death, but Wales deserved their draw and will head off to Azerbaijan next month in confident mood.

David Pipe, the only player in the Wales Under-21 squad in Latvia with a full international cap, captained a side which eventually had 12 new caps on show. Hodges has brought a wealth of experience from his days at Wimbledon and Sheffield United, and had clearly worked hard in limited training sessions to produce an organised outfit.

He had the Kaiserslautern reserve striker Dylan Hughes, the Ipswich goalkeeper Price and Plymouth's Peter Gilbert making first appearances. Much is hoped for from Gilbert, who formed part of a determined back line.

Wales gave the ball away too much but there was plenty of endeavour and organisation. The Arsenal youngster Adam Birchall and Hughes worked hard up front, while Fish and Fowler won a lot of possession and more than impressed.

Latvia U21: Trifonovs, Roslovs, Ivanovs, Klava, Ivasko, Visnakovs, Zuaravlovs, Sokolovs, Blanks, Kirhners, Starkovs. Substitutes: Lukovics, Cikinovs, Valuskins, Volkovs, Ascuks, Semjonovs, Sevlakovs.

Wales U21: L Price (Cardiff), R Duffy (Portsmouth), P Gilbert (Plymouth), L Fowler (Huddersfield), C Morgan (Wrexham), D Parslow (Cardiff), S Fleetwood (Cardiff), N Fish (Cardiff), D Hughes (Kaiserslautern), A Birchall (Arsenal), D Pipe (Notts County). Substitutes: S Spender (Cardiff), M Jones (Wrexham), L Davies (Bangor), A Davies (Southampton), R Caliste (Manchester United), B Anthony (Cardiff), L Worgan (gk, Rushden & D).

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