Page: A chance for youngsters to stake a claim
15 May 2017

Page: A chance for youngsters to stake a claim

Rob Page has called on his young players to use this month’s Toulon Tournament as a chance to stake a claim ahead of the Under-21 qualifying campaign which starts in September.

A young squad will head out to France in a fortnight to compete in the 45th edition of the tournament for the very first time.

Wales kick off their campaign against hosts France on May 30 before further group games against Bahrain (June 2) and Ivory Coast (June 5).

And Page will have one eye on the autumn qualifiers as Wales begin their UEFA U21 qualifying group with games against Switzerland and Portugal.

“We had a good week recently in Cyprus with the Under-17s which was good for me to see the exciting talent that we have coming through,” he said.

“There are some excellent teams competing, and we have three tough games to start with, but we will give a good account of ourselves and we are not there to make up the number.

“Toulon is now an opportunity for players to come into the squad and stake a claim for when the (U21) qualifiers start in September.

“It’s a great tournament to be invited to and we can’t wait for the games to start now.”

With tournament regulations meaning players born during or after 1997 until 1999 earning eligibility, several Welsh youngsters will miss out on the chance to feature – including Exeter’s Ethan Ampadu and Everton’s Gethin Jones.

Meanwhile, Tyler Roberts – who spent the season on loan with Oxford and Shrewsbury – and young Coventry striker George Thomas, who scored the winner at Wembley in the Checkatrade Trophy, are both included.

“It gives other players an opportunity to come in, but it is frustrating because there are lads who are too young to play in Toulon but they are playing senior football every weekend,” said Page.

“George has been exceptional this season. I’ve seen him a few times and he’s scored some goals this season despite Coventry being relegated.

“Tyler has also had a good season and it is beneficial for these players to go out on play senior football in League One and League Two and it has done him the world of good.”

Page also confirmed that former Watford goalkeeper Alec Chamberlain will join his backroom staff as goalkeeping coach following the Toulon Tournament, while former Wales star Paul Bodin will come on board as assistant manager.

Toulon Squad.jpg