Malta Football Association
Possession and concentration key, say Malta U-21 players
Jun 5, 2018
Posted in:
U/21 Qualifiers

The Malta Under-21 team resume their 2019 UEFA U-21 Championship qualifying campaign this Thursday with a difficult home match against Sweden at the Centenary Stadium (kick-off 17.30).

Training for Thursday’s match kicked pff in mid-May wich Malta U-21 coach Silvio Vella also taking the opportunity to blood in new players who will also be eligible to play in the next UEFA Under-21 competition.


Ħamrun Spartans goalkeeper Jake Galea, back in the squad after missing the 4-2 away defeat to Turkey due to injury, is optimistic.


“We strive to be successful in every game we play, and every time we represent our country,” Galea told


“Possession is very important against such teams. We know that we are playing against professional football players who are very strong physically and that makes it harder for us but we will nonetheless try to play our game and pose a threat, regardless of how powerful Sweden are,.


Young defender Neil Tabone, who plays for BOV First Division club Żejtun Corinthians, is hoping for a good performance from the Maltese team.


“We need to keep our concentration and avoid mistakes,” Tabone said.


“Training under coach Silvio Vella has been intense, the is a strong bond between the players, and hopefully we will pick up some points fromt his match.”



Ħamrun Spartans defender Karl Micallef said the experience at U-21 level is crucial for the players to make the step-up to the senior squad.


“There is a good mix of players in this squad and as our coaches always stress, it’s crucial that we strive for good results as we are representing our country,” Micallef sad.


“The most important thing though is to gain experience and get ready for the senior team, that is the ultimate target for me and the rest of the squad.”


One of the U-21 players who has just had his first experience with the senior squad is Birkirkara midfielder Jake Grech.


Grech, winner of the best young player award at the 2018 MFA Awards, made his senior debut in the recent friendlies against Armenia and Georgia.


“My season has been hectic but I’m enjoying it because I know that this effort will aid my progress as a player,” Grech said.


“We’ve just returned home after the training camp in Austria with the senior squad.


“Training has been intensive but playing in the two friendlies was a very positive experience for me and the other U-21 players, one that will surely help us ahead of this qualifier against Sweden.”


The Maltese youngsters will be looking to pick up their first points in Thursday’s match at the Centenary Stadium but it will not be easy as Sweden are challenging for top spot in Group 6 and automatic qualification for the 2019 UEFA Under-21 finals.


Sweden are second in the group on 14 points, three behind leaders Belgium but with a game in hand.


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