Ben Woodburn was today called up by manager Chris Coleman to the Wales squad, aged 17-years and 152 days.
The teenager became our youngest ever goalscorer at the back-end of 2016 and has been in fine form for the Under-23s as well, playing half an hour for the first-team in place of Coutinho on Sunday as well.
Wales got the semis of Euro 2016 last summer so this selection is mighty impressive, especially as he’ll now get the chance to work and train alongside Gareth Bale – one of the world’s best players.
Coleman says Wales have known about Woodburn for years and are not calling him up to avoid England poaching him in the future.
Woodburn was born in England, but has represented Welsh youth teams since 2014.
“I don’t think in terms of who is playing and who is not that will be for next week. He has done some good things at Liverpool. He has been in our system since he was 13 so while everyone was excited when he burst onto the scene at Liverpool, we knew all about him,” Coleman told BBC Sport.
“Every day he is training with international players. Technically he’s very good. He is performing with one of the biggest clubs in football. He is on the periphery of the squad. He won’t be daunted by coming with us, he is playing with international players every day. It won’t be big for Ben.
“He is there on merit. We are looking forward to having him on board.
“If I feel the need that I need to make a change and he needs to come on for tactical reasons, then that will happen, but not because I’m worried about others. We see him as an international player for Wales. We have since he was a young boy. There will be no knee-jerk reaction to cap him.”
We only hope the same thing doesn’t happen to Woodburn as what happened to our Under-23 captain Harry Wilson. The winger was capped as a 16-year-old way back in 2013, but hasn’t played since and hasn’t broken into first-team consideration for Liverpool yet, either.
He’s tearing up trees in Premier League 2, but in hindsight the 2013 call-up undeniably came too soon for the teenager.