Date:Tuesday October 14 2008
Wales U21s travel to Villa Park today facing a dauting task if they are to become the first Welsh side to reach a major tournament at any level since 1959. Only a win will be good enough for Bryan Flynn's youngsters as they face up against England U21s and some big names.
The task is made all the harder with so many players, eligible for the U21s, called up to the senior squad. The multi-million pound full-backs Chris Gunter and Gareth Bale are unavailable along with centre-back Lewin Nyatanga, with goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, midfielder Joe Ledley (who attracted bids of £6m recently) while the striking force of Ched Evans is also in the senior squad.
However, the youngsters put up a spirited fight against the likes of Agbonglahor, Wheater and James Milner. The Welsh will also have Sam Vokes available in attack after he was released from the full squad.
One player focussed on an unpet is young Cardiff City utility player Darcy Blake. He told BBC Sport:
"It`s disappointing that we lost, especially as we had decent periods of the game when we were on top, but as far as we`re concerned it`s half-time and there is a lot of football to be played yet."
"We are confident that we can do something at Villa Park. Yes England are a quality side but we showed we could match them and we will have to do that again, only with more consistency."
"We showed we can score goals and there will be goals on Tuesday. The key for us is to get the ball to Aaron Ramsey more."
Blake has barely got a look-in at Cardiff City this season, used sparingly as an emergency full-back. However, there are calls for him to play in midfield to add more bite in the engine room, in place of Gavin Rae. Blake can only have impressed watching manager Dave Jones in the first leg and will be hoping to emulate former team-mate Chris Gunter whose stunning International form forced himself into Jones' plans and won him a place in the Bluebirds starting XI.
England U21s vs Wales U21s, Villa Park, Tuesday 14th October, 7.45pm kick off.
Date:Tuesday October 14 2008
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