Geraint Williams: Wales intermediate teams manager leaves role

Geraint Williams
Geraint Williams has also managed Colchester United and Leyton Orient

Geraint Williams has left his post as manager of the Wales under-21s and intermediate age group teams.

The former Welsh international's contract expired last Wednesday and has not been renewed by the Football Association of Wales.

The former Derby and Ipswich midfielder had been in charge since 2012.

Williams said he was "disappointed" but said: "I am a proud Welshman and it has been a total pleasure to work for my country."

And he is confident the highly-rated group of Welsh under-19 players - including dual-qualified Liverpool teenager Ben Woodburn - are committed to Wales long term.

His departure means a revamp of Wales' younger age group management.

David Hughes, who was Williams' assistant, has also just left the FAW to take up a youth coaching post with Aston Villa,

Ben Woodburn
Liverpool's Ben Woodburn is a key member of Wales' Under-19 side

Williams, 54, who won 13 caps for his country between 1988 and 1996, succeeded Brian Flynn in the Wales under-21 job in 2012.

He said: "In my contract, there was a specific target of getting the under-21s qualified. If I did not get that done, then there was an opportunity for change.

"It has been fantastic leading from the front, but also with the connection there has been between Chris Coleman and Osian Roberts.

"If the international committee feel it is time for a change I understand that."

'Fantastic spirit'

Williams praised Wales manager Coleman for ensuring a "pathway" to the senior side for up and coming Welsh youngsters.

He would look back with pride at the improvement in the co-efficient ratings of the Under-17s, the under-19s and the fact the under-21s lost just two qualifiers in the last European campaign.

Recently the Wales under-19s beat England with a team including Liverpool's Woodburn, Exeter City midfielder Ethan Ampadu, Manchester United defender Regan Poole and Everton's Nathan Broadhead.

Woodburn and Ampadu are also qualified to play for England, but Williams said: "The group are totally committed to Wales. We gave them an experience.

"Some of the lads have gone to the England under-16s and preferred what we are doing. We did not say they could not go, we encouraged it.

"Our under-19 group are so tight and so professional. They are like a club team. They have a fantastic spirit."

An official announcement on Williams' departure is expected this week.

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