World Cup qualifiers: Sheffield United winger David Brooks earns Wales call-up

David Brooks
United's David Brooks was praised for his performance in the Sheffield derby against Wednesday
2018 World Cup qualifiers: Georgia v Wales
Venue: Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena, Tblisi Date: Friday, 6 October Kick-off: 17:00 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Uncapped Sheffield United winger David Brooks has been called into the Wales squad for the first time for World Cup qualifying matches against Georgia and Republic of Ireland in October.

Brooks, 20, opted to play for England's Under-20s in the summer before recommitting to Wales.

Preston North End goalkeeper Chris Maxwell also earns his first call-up.

Back-up defenders Jazz Richards and James Collins are injured, otherwise Wales have a clean bill of health.

Joe Ledley has made a goalscoring return to first-team football after joining Derby, and that could persuade manager Chris Coleman to start the midfielder against Georgia on 6 October.

Uncapped Ethan Ampadu, 17, is again part of the 23-man squad after the defender's debut for Chelsea.

His inclusion alongside Liverpool forward Ben Woodburn, 17, and Brooks - who has started Sheffield United's last three Championship games - gives Coleman's squad a youthful look.

"David Brooks has earned it, he has been great for [Wales U21 manager] Robert Page. He was excellent for Sheffield United in the derby," Coleman said.

"He's shown great promise for some years, luckily for us he has chosen Wales. I am sure that has caused some ripples over the Severn Bridge.

"But it is a feather in the cap for our system, our structure, that David is here. He has earned his chance.

"I have met him, we had a coffee last month, we had a good chat. It's not like he's meeting me for the first time.

"I would not be afraid to put him on, but I don't feel obliged to cap him unless it suits us."

World Cup Qualifying Group D

Coleman is also glad to see his star players on song, with Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey - who is set to win his 50th cap - rediscovering their best form for Real Madrid and Arsenal at just the right time.

"Gareth and Rambo are in great form and that's great news for us. It's important both players are playing so well," Coleman added.

It is understood Ramsey has not travelled to Belarus with Arsenal, who will rest a number of top stars against Bate Borisov in the Europa League this evening.

Wales are second in Group D following wins over Austria and Moldova in September, but trail leaders Serbia by four points with two matches remaining.

Second place could be enough to earn Coleman's team a place in the play-offs, which will see eight of the nine runners up in qualifying groups play for four remaining places in Russia 2018.

After playing Georgia in Tblisi on 6 October, Wales face a potential showdown for second place with the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff on Monday, 9 October.

Wales squad:

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey, Danny Ward, Chris Maxwell; Defenders: Ben Davies, James Chester, Neil Taylor, Chris Gunter, Tom Lockyer, Ashley Williams, Ethan Ampadu; Midfielders: Joe Allen, David Edwards, Andy King, Joe Ledley, Aaron Ramsey, Jonathan Williams, David Brooks; Forwards: Gareth Bale, Marley Watkins, Hal Robson-Kanu, Sam Vokes, Tom Lawrence, Ben Woodburn.

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