Ben Woodburn handed first Wales call-up

16 March 2017 11:23

Liverpool teenager Ben Woodburn has been named in the Wales squad for their World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland.

Chester product Woodburn also qualifies to play for England, but his call-up to Chris Coleman's 23-man party for the March 24 clash in Dublin has ended speculation about his international future.

Woodburn became the youngest scorer in Liverpool history - at the age of 17 years and 45 days - when he was on target in the 2-0 EFL Cup victory over Leeds in November.

The 17-year-old forward has yet to start a Premier League game for the Reds, but he has become a regular member of Jurgen Klopp's senior squad in recent weeks and has already made seven first-team appearances.

Woodburn has been in the Wales set-up since the age of 13 and been capped at Under-17 and Under-19 level.

Wales manager Chris Coleman said: "He has done good things at Liverpool and everyone has been getting excited since he burst on the scene.

"But we've been looking at him since he was 13 and we know all about him.

"He's there on merit and we're looking forward to having him on board."

Asked if Woodburrn had been selected to ward off potential interest from England, Coleman said: "There's no need to do that.

"It makes me laugh when people say we've got to get him in.

"If I thought it was too early for him I wouldn't put him in because this is a big game for us.

"There's no knee-jerk reaction to cap him.

"He's training with international players every day at Liverpool and technically he's very good, he's performing for one of the biggest clubs in football.

"He's on the periphery of the squad and he won't be daunted by coming with us.

"But I see him as a Welsh international and he's good enough to be there.

"If Ben wanted to play for England there's absolutely nothing we could do about that.

"But we see him as an international player for Wales."

Source: PA


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