Oxford United winger Louis Griffiths scored a brilliant goal against Gibraltar at the 2024 UEFA Euro Under-17 qualifiers in Cardiff last week to book Wales a place in the elite round of the tournament.


Wales had a very impressive qualifying round, finishing first in their group after winning both of their matches against Gibraltar and a very strong Belgium team. 


The UEFA Euro U17 Championship is a prestigious football competition that serves as a platform for emerging football stars like Louis to gain experience and exposure in the international stage at a crucial moment in their careers. 


But representing your country at such a big stage comes with intense pressure and scrutiny. “Playing for a country is very different as you have to gel with new players and new personalities very quickly and produce the results on the pitch,” says Griffiths. The routine during the tournament was very “full on” involving training and recovery sessions. They even had lessons as many of the players are preparing for their GCSEs. 


Scoring his first goal for Wales at such an important tournament was a special moment for Louis who has also had a remarkable year at Oxford United, becoming one of the club’s youngest players to play for the first team last September at the age of 16 and 3 days. “Scoring my first international goal was a really nice way to end the week and it's something positive to take into future tours”. 


Wales will now play in the Elite round of the tournament in March which will decide the 15 teams who will play in the Finals of the 2024 UEFA Euro U17 Championship in Cyprus next May. Wales reached the Finals last year for the first time and are keen to do it again, but Griffiths remains realistic about the challenges ahead: “We are just trying to get as far as we can, whatever that takes and whoever throws it at us.” 


Best of luck to Louis as he follows in the footsteps of football legends such as Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo who also excelled in the UEFA European U17 Championships. 

Written by: Ana Galvani-Silva (HSO)