Chris Coleman says he never doubted Ben Woodburn would choose Wales over England
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 04/09/17 6:07am
Chris Coleman says he was always convinced Ben Woodburn would choose Wales over England.
Liverpool teenager Woodburn scored on his international debut as Wales beat Austria 1-0 in Cardiff, less than five minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute.
Woodburn's winner boosted the principality's qualification hopes for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia, but he could also have played for England.
The 17-year-old had dual nationality as he was born in Nottingham and raised in Cheshire, but he has been involved in the Wales set-up since the age of 13 through his maternal grandfather.
The English FA had twice made enquiries about Woodburn's eligibility, but the issue was put to bed once and for all when he stepped on to the pitch in the 69th-minute.
"I never thought it was going to go any other way," said Wales manager Coleman. "We're in a privileged position because we've spoken to his family.
"He's always declared himself Welsh, to play for Wales and he's been with our younger teams through the age groups. We've seen him coming through.
"I know there was talk of Ben playing for England but that was outside our little group and we can't control that.
"But I didn't put him on because I thought he can't go anywhere now. I would never do that.
"I would never take a gamble on a young player. If I thought he was going to be out of his depth I wouldn't put him through that. It wouldn't be fair on him.
"I put him on to add something to us, and he certainly did that."
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