The Malta Under-21 national team will be facing Lithuania in another match from Group C of the UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifying round in Alytus, Lithuania following the 4-1 win over Northern Ireland and the heavy 6-0 defeat in Russia.
Coach Gilbert Agius said that one is only as good as the last outing, the Northern Ireland win is long gone now and the players are firmly resolute to completely erase the Russia setback that followed and bounce back strongly with a solid performance on Friday.
On the eve of the match against Lithuania coach Gilbert Agius lauded the attitude and discipline of his players over the last ten days since the boys convened for preparations in this October international window ahead of this double away fixture.
“The boys have been professional, we have been working on this unified game philosophy we are implementing in all categories at National Team level, for most of the players this is their third time part of this group and we can notice they are absorbing this idea of football we want to adopt during football matches.
“In every call-up we have new faces, initially we summoned 10 new players in our original squad two weeks ago, six of them made the cut to be in this final squad for these two matches here in Lithuania and in five days time in Slovakia.
Gilbert Agius also referred to the lack of playing minutes these youngsters have at club level stressing, “Some of these players do play regularly at club level albeit in the lower tiers, ideally we have more players in this group who are in action week in week out in the top division, however we understand the increase in foreigners make it far more difficult for the boys who know they have to step up and be more resilient as competition at club level is very fierce also competing with established Maltese players.
“On the other hand I keep regular contact with coaches at club level, I know pretty well we possess talented players out there regardless of age and experience, if they perform well they will surely get the opportunity, now it’s up to them to seize it also by absorbing all instructed to them by their coaches and more importantly show what they are capable of doing on the field of play during matches”.
Under-21 coach Gilbert Agius affirmed he was truly delighted with the rapid improvement of Adam Magri Overend. He said that the player is skilful and talented and that the ultimate aim was to propel more young players towards the senior team. He added that Magri Overend seized his opportunity is also doing very well and playing regularly at club level.
“I am sure this decision undertaken by Mr. Mangia and his staff to promote Adam will instil more hunger in my players to perform at their very best and try to follow in his footsteps.”
“I repeat there is no age or experience, if you’re driven for success the chance will surely come at an early stage to represent your country with the National Team.”
“Results are important but our ultimate aim is to help this crop of youngsters to further improve both individually, tactically and also the footballing philosophy we are vying to adapt, pleased with Adam’s promotion because he was well prepared in all attributes required to be part of the senior team.
“We understand that the end result is the final product but we rely heavily on the performance of the players, we were pleased with the way things unfolded against Northern Ireland, by contrast utterly disappointed with how things evolved in Russia, therefore we are ready and firmly resolute to bounce back strongly and perform better on Friday”, Gilbert Agius concluded.