Malta Under-21 coach Silvio Vella is keen to use the team’s last two qualifiers to give opportunities to more players in the group while striving to attain positive results, starting from Friday’s match against Ukraine, being played behind closed doors at the Centenary Stadium, kick-off 17.00.
A host of players are making a return to the squad after missing the 4-1 defeat to Romania in Giurgiu last month. These include Timothy Aquilina, Nick Pulis, Gary Camilleri, Ayrton Attard, Marcus Grima and Jamie Zerafa, while Aidan Friggieri, Myles Beerman and Jan Busuttil are back with the Under-21 team after being part of the senior squad for the 3-0 win over Liechtenstein. Busuttil made his senior debut in Wednesday’s friendly.
Although Ukraine are out of the running for a top-two finish and qualification to the finals, Vella expects a stern test against them. In fact, the younger players in the Ukraine squad are as good as the more-experienced ones at this level, having won the FIFA World Cup Under-20 last year.
After the match against Ukraine, the Malta Under-21 will conclude their UEFA U-21 Championship qualifying Group 8 campaign with a home match against Finland on Tuesday, kick-off at 15:00.
Cain Formosa (San Ġwann);Timothy Aquilina (Sliema Wanderers); Rashed Al-Tumi (Arzachena, Italy).
Gary Camilleri (Balzan), Nicholas Pulis (Valletta), David Xuereb (Senglea Athletic), Matthew Ellul (Hibernians), Carlo Zammit Lonardelli (Fidelis Andria, Italy).
Zachary Grech (Hibernians), Darren Borg (Ħamrun Spartans), Myles Beerman (Sliema Wanderers), Andreas Vella (Santa Lucia), Jamie Zerafa (Santa Lucia), Marcus Grima (Balzan), Ayrton Attard (Hibernians), Bradley Sciberras (Marsaxlokk).
Aidan Friggieri (Gudja United), Sebastian Grech (Sliema Wanderers), James Scicluna (Pietà Hotspurs), Omar Elouni (Gżira United), Andrea Zammit (San Ġwann), Andrei Spiteri (Mosta), Jan Busuttil (Floriana).