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Cymru to field youthful side against Gibraltar in international friendly – How to watch

CYMRU will feature a youthful and unfamiliar line-up when they face Gibraltar in a friendly in Portugal on Thursday. Manager Rob Page is set to debut several players, taking the opportunity to experiment with fringe players following their failure to qualify for Euro 2024. The team will return to a more recognisable line-up for another friendly against Slovakia on Sunday.

With many first-team regulars absent, the match against Gibraltar – ranked 203rd in the world – will see 18-year-old Liverpool striker Lewis Koumas and 17-year-old Leeds United midfielder Charlie Crew earn their first caps. “Both have really impressed. I can see why they’re being spoken about in such high regard at club level,” said Page.

First cap for Lewis Koumas (cover picture) and Charlie Crew in the senior side

“We’ve all seen what they’ve done at club level. Fin Stevens and Matty Baker have also stepped up. It’s been an excellent camp so far; the new lads we’ve brought in have adapted really well. They’ve been welcomed warmly and have brought fresh energy.”

Thursday’s match at Estadio Algarve in Faro will be Cymru’s first since their Euro 2024 play-off final loss to Poland on penalties in March. That was a demoralising end to a turbulent campaign where Page faced intense pressure, especially after a humiliating home defeat to Armenia a year ago. However, the team’s subsequent improvement led to the Football Association of Wales publicly backing Page. He is using this training camp in Portugal as a springboard for future campaigns, starting with the Nations League in September.

There are six uncapped players in the squad. Besides Koumas and Crew, Coventry City’s Jay Dasilva and fellow defender Stevens, who has impressed on loan at Oxford United from Brentford, are expected to feature against Gibraltar. Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper Tom King and Stoke City defender Baker, who spent last season on loan at Newport County, are also hoping to earn their first caps.

Bolton Wanderers midfielder Josh Sheehan will captain Cymru for the first time in only his sixth international appearance. Cymru are without several senior players, including captain Aaron Ramsey, goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, full-back Neco Williams, and midfielders David Brooks and Harry Wilson.

The match against Gibraltar, whom Cymru defeated 4-0 last October, presents an ideal opportunity for Page to experiment before facing Slovakia, who have qualified for Euro 2024, in Trnava on Sunday. “The last time we played Gibraltar was a great exercise; we capped four new players that night, and it was worthwhile,” Page said.

“It’s no different in this camp. Regardless of who we’re playing or our formation, the biggest lesson from the last campaign is that we must approach the game with our values and how we want to go about our work. Whether it’s Gibraltar or Spain, our approach must remain consistent.

“We want to perform well in both games. One team is going to the Euros; the other isn’t, but both will be tough tests. I watched the Gibraltar v Scotland game and thought Gibraltar gave a good account of themselves, making it difficult for Scotland. There’s definitely development in Gibraltar, and we respect that. Slovakia will be a different challenge, and I’ll select a team accordingly for that match.”

How to watch Gibraltar vs Cymru online – TV channels & live streams: In the UK, the international friendly match between Gibraltar and Cymru can be watched and streamed live through BBC iPlayer, Premier Sports 1, S4C, and S4C Online.

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