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Williams: Wales face 'massive test'

Wales Under-21s boss Geraint Williams has called upon his players to rise to the challenge of taking on their England counterparts.

Last Updated: 04/03/14 at 21:24 Post Comment

Geraint Williams: Has called upon his players to rise to the challenge

Geraint Williams: Has called upon his players to rise to the challenge

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Williams has called upon his players to make history by securing a place at next year's European Championship.

The Welsh head into the qualifier at the iPro Stadium - home of Williams' former club Derby - in improving form, having bounced back from a 5-1 home defeat to Finland in August and 1-0 loss away against San Marino the following month to take seven points from their next three Group 1 fixtures.

And regarding the campaign so far and the test ahead against table-toppers England, the 52-year-old told Press Association Sport: "There are certain things that have happened along the way, but we have learned from it and grown from that.

"The players have responded. Seven points out of nine is an excellent return.

"We have had that blip and if you are building a way of playing, you are going to have blips along the way.

"You have to be strong enough to say 'if we keep doing the right things we will get our rewards'.

"This is a massive test for us but also an opportunity to see how far we have come, and if when we are under pressure, as we will be tomorrow night, we will stick by our philosophies and our principles and do the right things.

"For a lot of our players, they don't play against these sort of guys week in, week out, and it is a step up, but it is a chance to go out there and show they can rise to the challenge.

"We'll find out a lot about ourselves. It is another step along the way, and we want to qualify and also produce players for Chris Coleman to use for the senior team."

Wales Under-21s have never qualified for a European Championship before, and asked if he believed this group could be the ones to take that historic step, Williams said: "It doesn't matter what I think - I thought we would beat San Marino away, and we didn't.

"It is what we actually go out and do. They have a chance, and we are looking for this group to put their hands up and be the first to do it.

"It definitely can be done, and it is all in our hands."

Wales are currently third in the six-team qualifying pool with 10 points from six games.

England, who they are yet to play in the group, have 16 points from the same number of fixtures, while between those two nations, Moldova occupy the play-off spot with 13 points from seven matches.

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