New era for Cymru ahead of U21 qualifying draw
International
26 January 2021

New era for Cymru ahead of U21 qualifying draw

The draw for 2023 UEFA European U21 Championship qualifying will take place on Thursday, 28 January, at UEFA HQ in Nyon with Paul Bodin's Cymru side in Pot 4.

#U21EURO Qualifying Round Draw

  • 11:30 Thursday 28 January
  • Live on UEFA.com

There will be a different look to the squad for this latest edition of the competition as a number of players who have been an integral part of the team over the last few years are no longer eligible. However, the pathway system ensures that Bodin has a new and exciting group of players to work with as they prepare to return to competitive action. 

Cymru failed to qualify for the 2021 finals despite registering impressive victories over Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Moldova during the course of the last qualifying campaign. But while an appearance at the finals of the tournament remains elusive, the real success for Bodin and his staff was in the number of players who progressed through to the senior squad.

Defenders Rhys Norrington-Davies and Ben Cabango, as well as Brennan Johnson and Dylan Levitt, all featured for the Cymru U21 squad during the last qualifying campaign and have since made their full international debuts, while players such as Neco Williams and Ethan Ampadu are amongst those that have bypassed the age group completely to establish themselves in the senior squad ahead of their years.

Bodin will be without experienced figures such as Regan Poole and Nathan Broadhead for the next campaign, with the duo alone earning 40 caps at U21 level between them. But there is also an excitement over the next generation of players emerging through the intermediate ranks, currently headlined by the goal scoring form of Luke Jephcott, who is already well into double-figures for Plymouth Argyle this season.

Meanwhile, the teenage pair of Terry Taylor of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Morgan Boyes of Liverpool are two players who are expected to be an important part of Bodin's plans for the next campaign, and there are a number of others ready to make an impression at this level. Results are important to the manager, but the development and progression of his players through the system and into the senior squad remains the priority for Bodin as he begins to plan for the next campaign.

The 2023 UEFA European U21 Championship will take place in Georgia and Romania in June and July 2023, and the two nations will be joined by 14 of the 53 teams included in Thursday's qualifying draw. There will be eight groups of six and one group of five, with the qualifying fixtures scheduled to take place between March 2021 and June 2022. The nine group winners and the best runner-up will qualify for the final tournament directly, while the other eight runners-up will play off for the remaining places in September 2022.

Draw pots

Pot 1: Spain, Germany, France, England, Italy, Denmark, Portugal, Netherlands, Croatia.

Pot 2: Austria, Poland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Belgium, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Greece.

Pot 3: Slovakia, Iceland, Ukraine, Slovenia, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Norway, Bulgaria, Turkey.

Pot 4: Scotland, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cymru, Northern Ireland, Finland, Hungary, Belarus, Albania.

Pot 5: Montenegro, Kosovo, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Azerbaijan, Latvia.

Pot 6: Luxembourg, Armenia, Malta, Andorra, Estonia, Gibraltar, Liechtenstein, San Marino.