International

Wales call up Liverpool starlet Woodburn

2017-03-16 15:38
Ben Woodburn (Getty Images)

Cardiff - Wales have called up promising Liverpool teenager Ben Woodburn for their crucial World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland.

Woodburn was eligible to play for England after being born in Chester, but his appearance in Chris Coleman's 23-man squad for the March 24 clash in Dublin ends speculation about his international future.

Woodburn became Liverpool's youngest ever goalscorer, at the age of 17 years and 45 days, when he netted in their League Cup victory against Leeds in November.

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

Woodburn has been on the Welsh scene since the age of 13, earning caps at Under-17 and Under-19 level, and Chris Coleman was keen to get him involved in the senior group.

"He has done good things at Liverpool and everyone has been getting excited since he burst on the scene," Wales boss Coleman said on Thursday.

"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 Woodburn 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.

"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."

As the race to qualify for next year's World Cup in Russia gathers pace, Coleman's side are third in Group D, four points behind leaders the Republic of Ireland.

Coleman's hopes of a crucial victory over Ireland have also been boosted by the returns from injury of Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale and Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey.

WALES SQUAD:

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Liverpool), Owain Fon Williams (Inverness CT)

Defenders: Ben Davies (Tottenham), James Chester (Aston Villa), James Collins (West Ham), Joe Walsh (Milton Keynes Dons), Chris Gunter (Reading), Jazz Richards (Cardiff), Neil Taylor (Aston Villa), Ashley Williams (Everton)

Midfielders: Joe Allen (Stoke), David Edwards (Wolves), Andy King (Leicester), Tom Lawrence (Leicester), Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace), Shaun MacDonald (Wigan), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)

Forwards: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Hal Robson-Kanu (West Brom, Tom Bradshaw (Barnsley), Sam Vokes (Burnley), Ben Woodburn (Liverpool)

Read more on:    liverpool  |  wales  |  soccer
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