The Malta U-21’s will launch a new cycle under coach Gilbert Agius with two international warm-ups against Cyprus and Montenegro.
The friendly against Cyprus is pencilled for Saturday at the Centenary Stadium (kick-off: 7pm) as coach Agius will use this friendly to start assembling his squad ahead of the 2025 European Championship qualifications.
The previous qualifying edition was rounded off last June with an away fixture against daunting Spain, a competition wherein the team attained a welcome return of six points ensuing the double win over Northern Ireland.
“The squad at the moment contains a mixture of players from the previous cycle who are now joined by new blood, all charged up to grab the bull by its horns as they strive to establish themselves and cement a regular spot in this U-21’s squad going forward,” Agius said.
“Not easy to make comparisons, the previous squad constituted the endeavor of a group of players for a total of 18 months, this squad is absolutely new, we’ve only been a week together, therefore still early days to understand one another, adopt our methods and what is required exactly from the boys.
In such circumstances of having so many new players, this is our opportunity for myself and the rest of my staff to overview and transmit with every individual representing this group of players, the style of play and philosophy we would like to apply.”
Coach Agius acknowledged that there are principles that must be revised, being that for some of the players in the current squad, this opportunity also represents emerging for the very first time training at national team level.
“We know what we want from this group of players, we are firm in our identity and playing system pushed forward by our Head Coach Devis Mangia, I am positive this group of players will ultimately reap benefits as a team, but we need to work hard on the training pitch before they truly understand what is entailed by them”, coach Agius stressed.
Cyprus and Montenegro friendly fixtures
After Cyprus on Saturday, the team will get back straight to work as this tireless international break will see the Maltese selection rub shoulders with Montenegro in a second friendly fixture, on Monday (kick-off: 7pm).
“We will also keep an eye on the established players in this squad, they are not the end product yet, they are on the right pathway but should also understand there is still room to step up and put into practice our methods, as we strive to move forward and further help this U-21’s group of players to grow and raise their game”, coach Agius concluded.
Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina.
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