Regan Poole: Man Utd's Welsh teenager out to impress Mourinho and Coleman

Regan Poole and Marcus Rashford
Regan Poole goes in for a tackle in training with fellow Manchester United youngster Marcus Rashford

France was fantastic whilst the road to Russia has already begun with a bang. The golden generation for Wales are living up to their billing.

A group of players who grew up together through the age groups have and hope to continue creating Welsh football history.

The task of following in their footsteps is perhaps a daunting one, but when you've already broken records before your 17th birthday, history is not something that weighs heavily on your shoulders.

Regan Poole, now 18, became Newport County's youngest ever player in 2014 and in 2015 swapped Rodney Parade for Old Trafford.

And now the Manchester United defender is one of Wales' hopes for the future.

"I've become a much better player since I've been at United, they've improved me massively," said Poole after making his debut for Wales Under-21 as their campaign to reach the finals of Euro 2017 fizzled out.

Regan Poole
Regan Poole joined Newport in 2012 after being released by Cardiff City's academy

"I loved my time at Newport, but it was time to move on and become a better player.

"It's a lot of technical work at United and when I first joined I struggled a little bit, I'll admit that because being at Newport when you're in the first team it's more results based and much more physical.

"When you win, you win, whereas when you're with the reserves, it's all about becoming a better player and aiming to get into that first team.

"It's a lot of footwork and a lot of ball work, but in League Two it's very different."

In 12 months at Old Trafford, Poole has already made an impression and made his debut, coming off the bench in a Europa League game against FC Midtjylland in February.

He admits his year has been "a bit crazy", but since joining, Jose Mourinho has replaced Louis van Gaal and spent heavily in the transfer market, nearly £150m this summer on big-name recruits.

Jose Mourinho
Regan Poole faces the tough job of catching the eye of United boss Jose Mourinho

Poole, though, doesn't believe that will necessarily hinder his chances of breaking into the first team.

"I've spoken to him [Mourinho] and he's a really nice guy," said Poole.

"He's brought a lot of signings in this summer with Paul Pogba and the others.

"They've got quite a big squad, but you can only look up and you can only stay positive and keep working hard every day in training and hopefully when you get your chance, you've just got to take it again.

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"Maybe I'll get a chance in the cups - I never know if he'll [Mourinho] change it round. I've just got to keep thinking positive.

"The first step is training with them, when you do that you've got to show people what you're about.

"That's what my aim is now to get in there, I've been there once and I want it more and more."

Poole's Old Trafford debut drew comparisons with former United defender Rio Ferdinand, while others have tipped him for senior Wales honours in Chris Coleman's team soon.

Regan Poole meets Hartlepool's mascot H’Angus the Monkey
Regan Poole meets Hartlepool's mascot H’Angus the Monkey in August, 2015

"Of course that's a long-term goal," Poole added.

"I'm with the under-21s now and I want to cement my place here, but that's the next step definitely.

"It would be a huge honour for me and my family.

"To see everyone coming through with the under-21s shows how much of a good age group set up we've got here with Wales.

"It shows anything is possible."

You would have heard similar things from the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen eight years ago, maybe Wales' next generation just does have a gold future after all.

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