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News Worms


Coleman says Woodburn makes the grade based on talent

Coleman says Woodburn makes the grade based on talent

Liverpool midfielder Ben Woodburn has also been named in Wales' squad for the first time.

Wales manager Chris Coleman has denied that calling Ben Woodburn in to his World Cup squad is a "knee-jerk reaction" to keep the Liverpool teenager out of England's clutches.

Woodburn was catapulted into the limelight last November when he became Liverpool's youngest ever goalscorer, coming off the bench to score against Leeds United in the EFL Cup.

The Nottingham-born forward qualifies for Wales through his maternal grandfather and has already played at under-16, under-18 and under-19 level.

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Woodburn has represented Wales at youth level, including playing for the Under-19s this season, and has never given reason to believe that he will switch allegiances. "He won't be daunted by playing with global players, he does it every day".

"If we want to put him on for tactical reasons, it would be for that, but not because we are anxious about anyone else looking at him", insisted Coleman when asked about the player's inclusion at his press conference.

"He has been since a boy, so this is a natural progression as far as I'm concerned, and he has a future with us".

He said: "We see Ben as an worldwide player for Wales".

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Coleman added: "This is a massive game for us".

"We can sit down with young players and their families, but ultimately they'll make up their own minds. It wasn't us getting excited about Ben, it was other people". He returned to action in mid-February and has scored twice in five games since but has missed the club's last two league outings through suspension after being sent off against Las Palmas.

Bale has been restricted to only five appearances since the end of November. He's training with worldwide players everyday so it's a small transition and there won't be any problem for him.

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