Wales Under 19s manager Paul Bodin will have a busy three months ahead of him as preparations get underway for the 2020 UEFA U19 Euro qualifying round.
UEFA Euro U19 Qualifying Round Group 5
Wales, Russia, Poland, Kosovo
Games to take place 13-19 November (TBC)
Leckwith Stadium, Cardiff
Dragon Park, Newport
Free, ticketless entry
Bodin’s side will travel to Denmark for a mini tournament in September where Wales will face the hosts followed by a third-place match or final against Norway or Sweden. A month later Wales will be playing two matches against Austria at the Leckwith Stadium in Cardiff on the 11th and 14th of October. Bodin says he expects four tough matches which will provide invaluable experience for his youngsters.
“The mini tournament in September is the closest thing to a UEFA tournament experience and we’ll be facing some very good teams. We’ll be going there trying to win the competition and develop the players ahead of November. We can take 20 players which gives us a chance to look at a number of different players ahead of the qualifiers. Then in October Austria will be really good opposition as well, hopefully giving us a chance to fine tune the work we’d put in at Denmark and a chance to familiarize ourselves with playing at home.”
Last year Wales U19s reached the 2019 U19 UEFA Elite Round after beating Sweden and San Marino in the group stage which was hosted in north Wales. The 2020 qualifying round will again be hosted in Wales, where Paul Bodin’s side will be facing Russia, Poland and Kosovo with matches taking place at Leckwith Stadium in Cardiff and Dragon Park in Newport. Bodin believes his side has the potential of advancing to the Elite Round yet again.
“There’s a number of players from the 2001 group that were part of the elite round squad, around half the squad are still eligible which is great for us. A number of key players would have picked up some valuable experience from the elite rounds and we can add in some players from the 2002 age group as their Under 19 journey gets started. We’ve got some exciting young players coming through the system and it’s a case of developing those players during the next camp. There are probably around 25-30 good players to choose and it’s great to have that selection headache ahead of November. There will be plenty of chances for those players to prove themselves in the coming months.”
Every Wales U19 home match will be ticketless and free entry. KO times and dates for the UEFA Qualifying Round matches will be announced in due course.