Malta Under-21 coach Silvio Vella has named a provisional 24-man squad for the upcoming UEFA U-21 European Championship Group 8 qualifiers at home to Denmark and away to Romania.
Vella has selected a host of newcomers who will be vying to win a place in the final squad for these two tough tests with Malta playing Denmark on October 9 at the Centenary Stadium followed by the away Romania match on October 13.
Goalkeeper Rasheed Al-tumi, defenders Matthew Ellul, Matthew Spiteri, Chris Gauci and Darren Borg, midfielder Jean Paul Attard and forwards Sebastian Grech, James Scicluna and Andrea Zammit have been included in this youthful Under-21 squad for the first time.
Balzan’s Marcus Grima is making a return to the squad while the likes of Kurt Shaw, Myles Beerman, Shaun Dimech and Paul Mbong, who are still eligible to play for the Under-21 team, have earned a spot in the provisional senior squad.
Missing from the Under-21 squad are captain Jean Borg and vice-captain Michele Sansone, together with forwards Andrei Spiteri and Zachary Brincat, all sidelined with injuries.
The Malta U-21 team have one point from six matches in Group Eight following a goalless draw against Northern Ireland in their opening qualifier.
MALTA U-21 SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Andreas Vella (Santa Lucia), Timothy Aquilina (Sliema Wanderers), Rasheed Al-tumi (Arzachena, Italy).
Defenders: Gary Camilleri (Balzan), Dejan Debono (Mosta), Nicholas Pulis (Valletta), Carlo Zammit Lonardelli (Fidelis Andria, Italy), Matthew Ellul (Hibernians), Matthew Spiteri (Tarxien Rainbows), Chris Gauci (San Ġwann).
Midfielders: Zachary Karl Grech (Hibernians), David Xuereb (Senglea Athletic), Alex Satariano (Sliema Wanderers), Darren Borg (Ħamrun Spartans), Jean Paul Attard (Fgura United), Jamie Zerafa (Santa Lucia), Marcus Grima (Balzan), Ayrton Attard (Hibernians).
Forwards: Jan Busuttil (Floriana), Sebastian Grech (Sliema Wanderers), James Scicluna (Pietà Hotspurs), Aidan Jake Friggieri (Gudja United), Nevin Portelli (Gżira United), Andrea Zammit (San Ġwann).