Ben Woodburn: Coleman never doubted he would play for Wales, not England

Wales celebrate
Dave Edwards, Ben Davies and Aaron Ramsey mob Ben Woodburn after his winner against Austria
2018 World Cup qualifiers: Moldova v Wales
Venue: Stadionul Zimbru, Chisinau Date: Tuesday, 5 September Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Chris Coleman says he never doubted that the nation's latest star, 17-year-old Ben Woodburn, would opt to play for Wales rather than England.

The teenage scorer of the goal that beat Austria to keep Wales' World Cup hopes alive was eligible for England.

Woodburn was born in Nottingham, but qualified for Wales via a grandfather.

"I know there was talk of Ben playing for England but that was outside our little group and we can't control that," said Wales boss Coleman.

"I never thought it was going to go any other way."

Former Wales and Liverpool striker Ian Rush said he has been working with Woodburn since the player was 14.

"I know England were after him for a couple of years, he could have played for England but he is so passionate about being Welsh," added Rush.

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

Coleman says Woodburn made his desire to play for Wales known as he progressed through their under-16, under-18 and under-19 teams.

"He's always declared himself Welsh, to play for Wales and he's been with our younger teams through the age groups," said Coleman.

The Wales boss also refuted the suggestion he put Woodburn on in Cardiff to stop any chance of England persuading the youngster to defect to them.

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"But I didn't put him on because I thought he can't go anywhere now. I would never do that," said Coleman.

"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."

Coleman is now pondering whether or not Woodburn should start against Moldova in Chisinau on Tuesday.

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