A useful test awaits the Under-17 squad in the annual Trofeo Nereo Rocco between the 19th and 25th September as Malta takes part in the 32nd edition of this prestigious tournament which has attracted the participation of a host of youth teams from renowned clubs, including AC Milan, Crvena zvezda, Udinese, Atalanta and Empoli.
Malta Under-17 coach Silvio Vella has named a 20-strong squad for the week-long tournament, being played in the Italian town of Gradisca d’Isonzo. Several players selected by Vella for this trip were part of the squad that featured in the UEFA Youth U-16 Development Tournament, staged in Malta last February. The Maltese youngsters finished second out of four teams.
On Wednesday, the Malta U-17 team face Croatian team HNK Rijeka before wrapping up their group commitments against the youth side of Serie A club Torino on Thursday.
The Malta U-17s’ participation in the Trofeo Nereo Rocco is part of their build-up for the UEFA European Under-17 Championship qualifying round commitments between October 26 and November 1. Vella’s team have been drawn in Group 1 along with Belgium, Northern Ireland and Switzerland.
Photos: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar
MALTA UNDER-17 SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Amara Sylla (Birkirkara); Ryan Vella (Hibernians); Andrea Spiteri (Valletta).
Defenders: Christian Gauci (San Ġwann); Shaun Dimech (Valletta); Jake Ghio (Pietà Hotspurs); Liam McKay (Pietà Hotspurs); Glenn Attard (Birkirkara).
Midfielders: Jamie Sixsmith (St Andrews); Sheldon Pisani (Pietà Hotspurs); Matthew Portelli (Hibernians); Bradley Sciberras (Floriana); Ryan Tonna (Valletta); Ethan Lethridge (Birkirkara); Sebastian Grech (Birkirkara); Karl Mohnani (Melita).
Forwards: Paul Mbong (Birkirkara); Russel Vella (Ħamrun Spartans); Ryan Vella (Hibernians); Alexander Satariano (St Andrews).