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Basil Tuma returns as Woods finalises Malta U-21 squad for double-header

Malta U-21 national team coach Ivan Woods has trimmed his squad to 23 players ahead of this week’s matches against Kazakhstan and Lithuania, the Malta FA announced.

On Thursday, the Malta U-21 side play their fifth fixture from their European Championship qualifiers when they host Kazakhstan at the Tony Bezzina Stadium.

Then, Ivan Woods’ team will be up against Lithuania in an international friendly at the Tony Bezzina Stadium. Both matches will kick off at 6pm.

Woods is boosted by the return of Reading striker Basil Tuma who was forced to miss out on last month’s matches against Belgium and Scotland due to injury.

Defender Jake Vassallo has rejoined the U-21 squad after spending the first part of the international window, training with the national team.

Nick Cutajar, of Melita FC, and Nathan Agius, who is on the books of Mosta FC, have earned their first-call-up and are in line to make their first appearance for the team this week.

Woods has also handed a first call-up to Deacon Abela, of Swieqi United, Żejtun Corinthians midfielder Bjorn Buhagiar, Matteo Gambin, of Birirkara FC, and Gudja United forward Shaisen Attard.

Missing from the Malta U-21 squad are Gżira United’s Brooklyn Borg, Jed Valletta and Mattias Ellul, of Santa Lucia, as well as Pieta’ Hotspurs defender Zean Leonardi who are all ruled out by injury.

THE SQUAD

GOALKEEPERS: Reeves Cini (Pietà Hotspurs), Matthias Debono (Naxxar Lions), Hugo Sacco (Eastern New Mexico University).

DEFENDERS: Matthew Ellul (Żabbar St.Patrick), Jake Vassallo (Mosta), Owen Spiteri (Floriana), Deacon Abela (Swieqi United).

MIDFIELDERS: Jake Micallef (Leixoes S.C.), Kurt Bondin (Żebbuġ Rangers), Andrew Borg (Gżira United), Bjorn Buhagiar (Żejtun Corinthians), Nick Cutajar (Melita), Nathan Agius (Mosta), Gianluca Sciberras (Mosta), Aleandro Garzia (Floriana), Matteo Gambin (Birkirkara), Karl Mohnani (Melita), Nikolai Micallef ((Naxxar Lions).

FORWARDS: Mattia Veselji (Floriana), Andrea Zammit (A.S.C. Messina), Jake Engerer (Sliema Wanderers), Shaisen Attard (Gudja United), Basil Tuma (Reading FC).

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