Vella gives training camp overview ahead of Kosovo test
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Vella gives training camp overview ahead of Kosovo test

The Malta U-21 during a training session in Turkey.

The Malta U-21 during a training session in Turkey.

Malta U-21 coach Silvio Vella gave an overview of his side's 2-1 win over Turkmenistan on Friday, the amazing facilities in Turkey, this training camp in Antalya, and the preparations ahead of the Kosovo friendly on Tuesday.

TURKMENISTAN MATCH

“I was very pleased with the spirited performance by the boys on Friday," Vella said.

"We created a lot of chances but at times, we could have been more clinical in front of goal."

Against Turkmenistan Marcus Grima made his full debut while Zachary Grech, Neil Frendo and Paul Mbong all made their first bow for this U-21 team.

“I was really delighted with all four debutants," Vella said. "The entire team played really well. Let’s not forget that this is a new squad and the start has been very positive but we still have a lot of work to do to keep pushing this group of players in their development.

“We must keep performing at this level, the players need match fitness to improve, we have some players playing abroad, others are slowly getting more playing time domestically.

"These are encouraging things as we need to keep working together with the clubs to maintain this momentum and raise the standards of this group of players.”

TURKEY TRAINING CAMP

Vella had positive words for the facilities in Antalya, adding that this training camp important in the development of the boys.

“They are enjoying this professional football environment, staying and bonding together, eating healthy food, good recovery and intensive training," Vella said.

"The excellent facilities make things easier for us. We’re really grateful to the Malta FA for giving the boys this opportunity."

"Prior to our arrival for this training camp we had very little information about our first opponents, Turkmenistan," Vella added.

“It's still early in our preparations, so for the time being we have to focus on our players, the system we have in mind, be resilient during games and how we deal with the pressure, and be more clinical when the opportunity comes to put our opponents under pressure."

MALTA WIN OVER FAROE ISLANDS

“There wre a lot of positives about yesterday (Saturday)," Vella said of Malta's
2-1 win over Faroe Islands in their opening Euro 2020 qualifier.

"We watched the match against Faroe Islands in the lecture room here at our hotel. I was delighted to see our players enjoying the senior team’s achievement of beating Faroe Islands.

“Players like Matthew Guillaumier, who was making his debut at senior level, and Joseph Mbong were here with us until few months ago. I was very pleased for them, for all the team, and I’m sure that the present Under-21 group will strive hard and keep raising their standards to emulate their fellow colleagues in representing their country at the highest level.”

MALTA FA YOUTH SECTOR

Eighteen of the players in the current Malta U-21 squad have been with the Malta FA youth national teams for more than 4 to 5 years.

Eight players in Friday’s team were born 1998 and were part of the squad that played in the UEFA U-17 Championship in Malta in 2014 and in subsequent UEFA qualification games.

Another five players, together with Matthew Guillaumier who is still part of this U-21 squad for next competition but has been promoted to senior team, were also born in 1998.

Other four players born in 1997 – Joseph Mbong, Juan Corbolan, Jake Grech and Kyrian Nwoko – have just ended their U-21 duties due to age restrictions and have already been promoted to the National A squad.

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