By Paul Jones
Matty Jones has been announced as the new Wales U21 head coach.
The former Wales midfielder, who has worked with the FAW at U18 level and with manager Gemma Grainger and the women’s national side, will take up the role immediately and be in charge for a friendly against Austria later this month.
Jones is a is a UEFA pro licence holder who has also worked for Swansea City as their U23 academy team manager.
He replaces Paul Bodin who stepped down from the job in July after three years in charge.
The 42-year-old Jones won 13 caps for Wales during his playing career, which was cut short through injury when he was just 23.
He played for both Leeds United and Leicester City in the Premier League, before working in the media as a TV pundit and then turning to coaching.
Jones said: “I’m really grateful to everyone at the FAW for this opportunity and to all those who have supported me along this journey.
Matty Jones is the new manager of Wales U21s!
Pic: John Smith/FAW pic.twitter.com/QwlsnfzWN3
— WalesOnline Sport (@WelshSportLive) September 15, 2022
“It’s hard to contain the emotion that comes with this appointment because it’s not just a job but a sense of pride, passion and love.
“Representing your country, regardless of what level, is something that you should always pride yourself on and that’s something I’ve always done.
“I had to overcome a lot of adversity during my playing career, so getting the chance to work with young players now and knowing what type of journey they are on will allow me to support, advise and guide them. There’s no better feeling and I’m really excited to work with them.”
FAW chief football officer David Adams said: “His own unique journey in professional football, combined with his passion and experience in player development – both in professional football and within our Cymru youth national teams – and his passion and ability to connect to the individual, made Matty the standout candidate during this process.
“We believe this key appointment will enable us to continue our alignment and progression of players into our senior men’s national team.”
Delighted to welcome former Leeds Utd, Leicester City & Wales international Matty Jones to this years pro/celeb football event for @tyhafan! pic.twitter.com/nZrStulLbV
— Tŷ Hafan XI ⚽️ (@TyHafanXI) February 2, 2017
Jones has named a 26-player squad, with 21 travelling to Vienna.
The match will take place on Tuesday 27th September and form part of Wales’ preparations for the UEFA U21 EURO 2025 qualifiers which begin next year.
Wales U21: Cian TYLER (Coventry City), David ROBSON (Hull City), Ed BEACH (Chelsea), Evan WATTS (Swansea City), Fin STEVENS (Swansea City – on loan from Brentford), Ollie DENHAM (Cardiff City), Owen BEVAN (Yeovil Town – on loan from Bournemouth), Matt BAKER (Stoke City), Owen BECK (Bolton Wanderers – on loan from Liverpool), Iestyn HUGHES (Leicester City), Luca HOOLE (Bristol Rovers), Zac ASHWORTH (West Bromwich Albion), Oli HAMMOND (Nottingham Forest), Tom SPARROW (Stoke City), Eli KING (Crewe Alexandra – on loan from Cardiff City), Oli EWING (Leicester City), Charlie SAVAGE (Manchester United), Ryan HOWLEY (Coventry City), Jordan JAMES (Birmingham City), Jadan RAYMOND (Crystal Palace), James LANNIN-SWEET (Arsenal), Ed TURNS (Brighton & Hove Albion), Pat JONES (Huddersfield Town), Josh FARRELL (Juventud de Torremolinos CF – on loan from Granada FC), Josh THOMAS (Swansea City), Joe TAYLOR (Peterborough).