Malta coach Ray Farrugia has selected a provisional 25-strong squad for this month’s home matches against the Faroe Islands and Spain.
The national team launch their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign against Faroe Islands at the National Stadium on Saturday, March 23, before facing Spain in the most eagerly-awaited home fixture of this new competition three days later.
Four months on from Malta’s final UEFA Nations League Group D3 match against Faroe Islands, which ended 1-1, Farrugia has continued the process of promoting more young players into the senior squad.
His initial selection features no fewer than four new players who represented Malta in the last UEFA Under-21 qualifying competition.
Birkirkara duo Matthew Guillaumier and Kurt Zammit, Ħamrun Spartans’ Karl Micallef and Gżira United defender Nikolai Muscat have been shortlisted, joining other young players like Hibernians trio Joseph Mbong, Jake Grech and Dunstan Vella, Valletta forward Kyrian Nwoko and Juan Corbalan, the Gżira United wing-back.
With Birkirkara goalkeeper Andrew Hogg sidelined with injury, Farrugia has awarded a recall to experienced Gżira United goalkeeper Justin Haber with Pietà Hotspurs’ Nicky Vella also earning a place in the 25-man squad.
Birkirkara forward Luke Montebello and Sliema Wanderers’ John Mintoff have been recalled after a long absence with Senglea Athletic winger Leighton Grech also named in the initial squad.
Apart from Hogg, winger Luke Gambin, who plays for Crawley Town in England, Hibernians forward Jurgen Degabriele and Sliema Wanderers striker Jean Paul Farrugia have missed out due to injuries.
While there is a distinct increase in the number of young, emerging players in the squad, Farrugia’s selection is not short of experience as the Malta coach is also relying on several established players who have plenty of international experience.
Meanwhile, the ticket sales for the Faroe Islands and Spain matches are progressing well.
For the opening match against Faroe islands, entrance to the Millennium Stand is free of charge. For the Spain match, the tickets for the Millennium D sector have sold out. Tickets may be obtained from www.mfa.com.mt
Henry Bonello (Valletta); Justin Haber (Gżira United); Nicky Vella (Pietà Hotspurs).
Andrei Agius (Hibernians); Steve Borg (Valletta); Ryan Camilleri (Valletta); Jonathan Caruana (Valletta); Joseph Mbong (Hibernians); Karl Micallef (Ħamrun Spartans); Nikolai Muscat (Gżira United); Zach Muscat (SC Olhanense, Portugal); Joseph Zerafa (Valletta).
Juan Corbalan (Gżira United); Paul Fenech (Balzan), Jake Grech (Hibernians); Leighton Grech (Senglea Athletic); Matthew Guillaumier (Birkirkara); Bjorn Kristensen (Hibernians); John Mintoff (Sliema Wanderers); Rowen Muscat (Valletta); Dunstan Vella (Hibernians); Kurt Zammit (Birkirkara).
Michael Mifsud (Birkirkara); Luke Montebello (Birkirkara); Kyrian Nwoko (Valletta).