Malta Football Association
NEWS:
U-21 coach Vella focusing on long-term development
Nov 12, 2020
Posted in:
General
U/21 Qualifiers
PHOTO: Joe Borg/MFA
PHOTO: Joe Borg/MFA

Malta Under-21 coach Silvio Vella is keen to use the team’s last two qualifiers to give opportunities to more players in the group while striving to attain positive results, starting from Friday’s match against Ukraine, being played without spectators at the Centenary Stadium (kick-off 17.00hrs).


Commenting on the team’s preparations for their final two outings this year, Silvio Vella said: “Despite the problems we encountered last month, I prefer to look at the positive side as the situation gave us the opportunity to introduce new players. More playing time at this level will clearly help them raise their standards and gain the necessary experience in preparation for the next competition".

 

A host of players are making a return to the squad after missing the 4-1 defeat to Romania in Giurgiu last month. These include Timothy Aquilina, Nick Pulis, Gary Camilleri, Ayrton Attard, Marcus Grima and Jamie Zerafa, while Aidan Friggieri, Myles Beerman and Jan Busuttil are back with the U-21 team after being part of the senior squad for the 3-0 win over Liechtenstein. Busuttil made his senior debut in Wednesday’s friendly.

 

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TOUGH CHALLENGE

 

Although Ukraine are out of the running for a top-two finish and qualification to the finals, Vella expects a stern test against them.

 

“Ukraine are a very strong side,” the Malta Under-21 coach said. “They are disappointed at failing to qualify from this competition but this campaign has been very tough not just for us but also for the likes of Ukraine as Denmark and Romania have been a step ahead of the rest in this Group 8.

 

“The younger players in the Ukraine squad are as good as the more-experienced ones at this level, having won the FIFA World Cup Under-20 last year. They have strength-in-depth and a lot of quality on the bench, so this will be a tough match but as always, our boys will be giving their all to give a good account of themselves and try and secure a positive result.”

 

After the match against Ukraine, the Malta Under-21 will conclude their UEFA U-21 Championship qualifying Grouo 8 campaign with a home match against Finland on Tuesday, KO time 15:00h.

 

UPDATED MALTA U-21 SQUAD

 

GOALKEEPERS

Cain Formosa (San Ġwann);Timothy Aquilina (Sliema Wanderers); Rashed Al-Tumi (Arzachena, Italy).

 

DEFENDERS

Gary Camilleri (Balzan), Nicholas Pulis (Valletta), David Xuereb (Senglea Athletic), Matthew Ellul (Hibernians), Carlo Zammit Lonardelli (Fidelis Andria, Italy).

 

MIDFIELDERS

Zachary Grech (Hibernians), Darren Borg (Ħamrun Spartans), Myles Beerman (Sliema Wanderers), Andreas Vella (Santa Lucia), Jamie Zerafa (Santa Lucia), Marcus Grima (Balzan), Ayrton Attard (Hibernians), Bradley Sciberras (Marsaxlokk).

 

FORWARDS

Aidan Friggieri (Gudja United), Sebastian Grech (Sliema Wanderers), James Scicluna (PietàHotspurs), Omar Elouni (Gżira United), Andrea Zammit (San Ġwann), Andrei Spiteri (Mosta), Jan Busuttil (Floriana).

 

UKRAINE UNDER-21 SQUAD

 

GOALKEEPERS

Ruslan Neshcheret (Dynamo Kyiv), Vladyslav Kucheruk (Kolos Kovalivka), Anatolii Trubin (Shakhtar Donetsk).

 

DEFENDERS

Oleksandr Syrota, Christian Bilovar (both Dynamo Kyiv), Vladyslav Dubinchak (Dnipro-1 Dnipro), Ihor Snurnitsyn (Olimpik Donetsk), Tymur Stetskov, Roman Vantukh, Vladyslav Babohlo (all Oleksandriya), Bohdan Milovanov (Sporting, Spain).

 

MIDFIELDERS

Daniil Semilet (Vorskla Poltava), Volodymyr Brazhko (Dynamo Kyiv), Serhii Buletsa, Oleksandr Nazarenko (both Dnipro-1 Dnipro), Artem Bondarenko (Mariupol), Heorhii Sudakov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Volodymyr Yakimets (Lviv), Danylo Kravchuk (Vorskla Poltava).

 

FORWARDS

Illya Shevtsov (Desna Chernihiv), Danylo Sikan (Mariupol), Mykola Kukharevych (Rukh Lviv), Bohdan Vyunnyk (Shakhtar Donetsk).

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