NEWPORT County AFC forward Lewis Collins has been named in the Wales Under-21s squad for the opening Euro 2023 qualifier against Moldova.

The 19-year-old has had a superb run-in with the Exiles to help earn a place in the League Two play-off final against Morecambe on Monday (kick-off 3pm).

The forward will hope to head from Wembley as a winner to national duty for the clash with Moldova at Steboneath Park in Llanelli on Friday, June 4 (kick-off 7.30pm).

Collins won his first cap as a substitute against Belgium last autumn but suffered an ankle injury that hindered his bid for County action.

Manager Michael Flynn turned to the youngster’s energy in the push for the play-offs, moving him from a midfield role to joining forces with Padraig Amond up front.

South Wales Argus:

It has paid off with Collins scoring his first senior goal in the drubbing of Scunthorpe and then grabbing the second in the 2-0 win against Forest Green in the first leg of the semi-finals.

His brother Aaron scored in the return game but Lewis, who had been moved back to a wide role, helped create Nicky Maynard’s winner with a lofted ball over the top with two minutes of extra time remaining.

Wales boss Paul Bodin has selected a 21-strong squad but defender Brandon Cooper, who was a huge influence in the County defence when on loan from Swansea in the first half of the season, misses out through injury.

The young guns will attempt to match the 3-0 win over the Moldovans in Wrexham last November to get off to a flying start in Group E, which also contains the Netherlands, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Moldova and Gibraltar.

Cymru U21: Lewis Webb (Swansea City), Nathan Shepperd (Brentford), Daniel Barden (Norwich City), Billy Sass-Davies (Yeovil Town, on loan from Crewe Alexandra), Morgan Boyes (Liverpool), Ben Margetson (Cardiff City), Eddy Jones (Stoke City), Cameron Evans (Waterford on loan from Swansea City), Fin Stevens (Brentford), Niall Huggins (Leeds United), Terry Taylor (Burton Albion), Sam Bowen (Cardiff City), Siôn Spence (Crystal Palace), Sam Pearson (Bristol City), Joe Adams (Brentford), Luke Jephcott (Plymouth Argyle), Lewis Collins (Newport County), Elliot Thorpe (Tottenham Hotspur), Rhys Hughes (Everton), Jack Vale (Blackburn Rovers), Ryan Stirk (Birmingham City).