Victory Shield: England pull-out a 'sad day' - Welsh Schools FA

Wales beat England 1-0 in this season's Victory Shield
Wales beat England 1-0 in this season's Victory Shield

England did not consult the other home nations before pulling out of the Victory Shield says Welsh Schools Football Association chairman Cledwyn Ashford.

The Football Association has announced England will no longer compete in the long-running under-16 competition.

Wales, managed by Osian Roberts, this season won the Victory Shield outright for the first time since 1949.

"There was no consultation whatsoever with the other nations," Ashford said.

"It's a very sad day for schoolboy football."

England have won the tournament a record 35 times since World War II but the Football Association [FA] wants their young players to face opposition from further afield.

The FA said the decision "ensures consistency with a key element of the England DNA."

Contested annually since 1946-47, Wales won the Victory Shield last term and Scotland triumphed the year before.

Aaron Ramsey, Jonny Williams and Emyr Huws are among the current Wales internationals who have played in the Victory Shield.

"I think it's a great shame England are pulling out of this very important competition," Ashford added

"In my mind it's a very, very good competition and it's quite ironic really that England have been chasing a dozen of our players over the last two years.

"The standard can't be that low. I think it's a high standard.

"The work that Osian Roberts and his staff have done with the Welsh youngsters is fantastic and it's showing in the results that we're having at Under 15s, 16s, 17s and up to the first team.

"Perhaps the standards we're having and Scotland the year before are putting them [England] off taking part in the competition because they are no longer top dogs."