Wales youngster Neco Williams says he turned down an approach from England before making his senior debut and he is now beginning to show Gareth Southgate what he is lacking.
Following their 1-0 win last Thursday in Finland, the full-back from Liverpool headed the only goal deep into stoppage time after coming on as a second-half substitute against Bulgaria to make it two out of two wins for Ryan Giggs’ men and put them in early charge of their League of Nations group.
Williams was born in Wrexham but would have been qualified to play for England by grandparents- but he says he has no interest in doing so. The nations are scheduled to meet in a friendly at Wembley on 8 October.
‘I was interested in England but I was talking to the gaffer and I was saying that my thoughts were with Wales,’ Williams said before the game. ‘England wanted to scream at me but I didn’t have much of it.’
Jurgen Klopp appreciates Williams highly and he has shown exactly why here. After replacing Connor Roberts in the 64th minute he was one of the liveliest players in Wales and his goal lit up a desperately drab game.
Hal Robson-Kanu found Jonny Williams fellow on the left and the midfielder’s delivery was fine in the final minute of added time for his namesake nodding past Georgi Georgiev.
‘It will be a day I will remember for the rest of my life,’ Neco said. ‘You’re dreaming to play for your country when you’re a child. Hopefully, I’ll keep having opportunities and more goals. This squad is like a family.’
In only two substitute appearances, Williams has put forward a good argument for the Euro 2020 draw. Gareth Bale will still be there for as long as he is healthy after the player from Real Madrid started his second game in four days – as many as he played in seven months for his side.
But even the four-time winner of the Champions League couldn’t bring this match to life with Bulgaria struggling to contain for long stretches a Wales side missing key men including Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, Chris Mepham, and Joe Rodon.
The closest Wales came in daily 90 minutes was when David Brooks hit the post outside with the remaining 15 minutes, playing his first international for over a year. That was one of the few chances in a game seldom played over jogging speed – perhaps unsurprisingly considering the season ahead of a tough team.