Ben Woodburn was always going to play for Wales ahead of England – Ian Rush

Former Wales striker Ian Rush insists there was no chance Ben Woodburn would play for England.

The 17-year-old, who came off the bench to score a brilliant winner for Chris Coleman’s side in their World Cup qualifier against Austria just four minutes into his international debut, was born in Chester but qualifies for Wales through his maternal grandfather.

When he became the youngest goalscorer in Liverpool’s history last November against Leeds in the EFL Cup it reignited speculation England would try to lure him into their set-up.

However, Woodburn, who was offered an England Under-16 call-up in 2014 having previously attended a training camp with England schoolboys, said in May he never considered switching sides.

And Rush, who worked with Woodburn in Wales’ youth set-up, was convinced that stance would not change.

“I know England were after him for a couple of years but he is so passionate about being Welsh,” he told Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme.

“Chris Coleman gave him a chance and he came up trumps.

“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. Playing with with the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale I think he is now realising what the world is all about.

Ben Woodburn scores for Wales
Ben Woodburn scores for Wales (David Davies/PA)

“Jurgen Klopp has been absolutely fantastic with him (telling him) ‘not too much too soon’, ‘be patient and your time will come and then you have to take your chance’.

“He has taken his chance but he has to be patient again because things don’t happen overnight and he must realise he probably won’t start on Tuesday (against Moldova) but if he comes on he will do a job.”

Woodburn has established a reputation as a goalscorer but played a large number of matches for Liverpool’s under-18 and under-23 sides as a midfielder and performed that role in some of their pre-season friendlies.

Ben Woodburn in action for Liverpool
(Dave Howarth/PA)

His strike last night has Rush comparing him to another Anfield great.

“I thought it was an excellent goal – he is a confident player – but it wasn’t like a striker’s goal it was more like a Steven Gerrard goal,” he added.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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