Woodburn can become a great, says Wales manager

Reuters
The Liverpool youngster's incredible introduction to international football produced rave reviews on Sunday, with manager Chris Coleman leading the praise.
Reuters
AFP

Wales' striker Ben Woodburn shoots to score the only goal against Austria during their World Cup qualifier in Cardiff on September 2, 2017.

Wales may have unearthed another exciting prospect after teenager Ben Woodburn came off the bench to score his country's winner in a World Cup qualifier against Austria on Saturday.

The Liverpool youngster's incredible introduction to international football produced rave reviews on Sunday, with manager Chris Coleman leading the praise.

"I know his strike was fantastic but his all-round composure was great, too," Coleman said.

"He has all the attributes to go on to be a great player."

The 17-year-old had only been on the pitch five minutes when he fired home from distance to keep Welsh hopes of qualifying for next year's finals alive.

"The ball just came out of the air and I just tried to shoot it as quickly as I could," Woodburn told Sky Sports, after becoming Wales' second youngest goalscorer in history at 17 years and 322 days, behind only Gareth Bale.

"It's a great feeling, I couldn't ask for much more from the fans. I won't sleep tonight."

With three games left Wales is third in Group D, four points behind leader Serbia and two behind Ireland as  it attempts to reach the World Cup finals for the first time since 1958.

Wales has provided some of the greats of British football down the years, with Mark Hughes, Ryan Giggs and Bale all doing sterling service for their country.

All-time top scorer Ian Rush was also encouraged to see Woodburn, who has made only a handful of appearances for Liverpool's first team, make an instant impact.

"I've been working with Ben since he was 14 years old and he has an amazing attitude, he keeps his feet on the ground," Rush told the BBC.

"Playing with the likes of (Arsenal midfielder) Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale I think he is now realizing what the world is all about."

"He probably won't start on Tuesday (against Moldova) but if he comes on he will do a job," added Rush.


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