Watch: The brilliant Welsh welcome for Wales young guns
The future stars of Welsh football received a rousing welcome when they arrived at Rodney Parade in Newport for their crucial European Championship match against Iceland.
The young Dragons are second in their Euro 2025 qualifying group after an unbeaten three-game start on the road – impressive draws with Denmark and the Czech Republic and a 3-2 win in Lithuania.
Wales’ first home game of the campaign however will be a stern test against group leaders Iceland.
As this was an occasion to look to the future, with the hope that qualification to an U21 championship can foster the next golden generation of Wales senior internationals, there was also involvement from the future supporters of the Red Wall, with local schoolkids front and centre of the build up to the game.
Many were in attendance to watch the young Welsh stars being put through their paces at the ground yesterday in advance of the match, and players were only too pleased to sign autographs and pose for selfies with the fledgling fans.
— Wales 🏴 (@Cymru) November 16, 2023
Local school children were at Rodney Parade this morning to watch Cymru U21 prepare for tomorrow’s #U21EURO qualifier against Iceland 🏴
— Wales 🏴 (@Cymru) November 15, 2023
Wales Under-21 boss Matty Jones accepted different challenges faced his side on home soil in their bid for European Championship qualification.
After the Iceland match, the his team face Denmark next Tuesday – both games being played at Rodney Parade.
“We’ve played against higher-ranked teams,” Jones said of an intriguing campaign that has seen Iceland get off to a flier with wins over the Czech Republic and Lithuania.
“It’s been challenging and it’s been difficult, but it’s allowed us to showcase our robustness defensively and resilience in our approach.
“Our counter-attacking ability has got us goals and results, but it slightly changes when you’re at home.
“The responsibility is on us to be creative and take the game to Iceland and Denmark. Challenges await and I’m sure the players will be prepared for it.”
Wales are strengthened by the return of Reading midfielder Charlie Savage and Wycombe defender Josh Low.
The pair made senior debuts in the 4-0 friendly victory over Gibraltar last month, two days before the 1-1 draw in the Czech Republic when Cardiff’s Cian Ashford scored a spectacular stoppage-time equaliser.
Fulham attacking midfielder Luke Harris and Dundee’s on-loan Liverpool defender Owen Beck were also part of Rob Page’s senior squad against Gibraltar.
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