Emma Jones: Cardiff City Ladies forward 'chuffed' to be part of Wales squad

Emma Jones
Emma Jones has previously represented Wales at Under-19 level

Born in Bournemouth, shaped in the United States and fresh from a stint playing Champions League football in Sweden, Emma Jones is aiming to make a mark with Wales.

Jones, a forward, is part of Jayne Ludlow's squad for the first time as they prepare for Tuesday's friendly against Italy in Cesena.

She is one of a handful of fresh faces called up as Wales prepare for their Euro 2021 qualifying campaign, which begins in August.

Jones, 24, is currently playing for Cardiff City Ladies in the Southern Premier Division of the FA Women's League.

Yet it was in Scandinavia that Jones got the call from Wales.

Jones qualifies to wear the red jersey through her grandparents, who hailed from Cwmbran.

She was part of the Welsh Under-19 set-up six years ago, but was thrilled to be summoned by Wales boss Jayne Ludlow.

"I was in my apartment in Sweden and I got a text about coming to play for Wales," Jones said.

"I was pretty chuffed. It's great now to be part of the group. Everyone makes you feel so comfortable and is always on your side. It's all good."

Jones was at Reading as a youngster, at the same time that Ludlow was the Royals' manager.

Jayne Ludlow
Wales manager Jayne Ludlow was previously in charge of Jones' former club Reading

She crossed the Pond at the age of 18 to try her luck playing university football - and feels that move turned her into a better player.

"I was in Oregon. It was definitely a different type of football out there, with a lot more focus on the fitness side of things," Jones adds.

"But I think that helped me tremendously to be where I am today. It really changed me as a player and a person."

After four years in America, Jones took the chance to join Swedish side Linkopings last summer.

"It was an opportunity I couldn't turn down," she adds.

"It was a really good team. We played in the Champions League which was great, but it was a challenge.

"It taught me a lot about myself and what I wanted from my career."

Now Jones is trying to establish herself at international level.

She has come into the Welsh set-up at an exciting time, with Ludlow's squad looking to build on an impressive World Cup qualifying campaign.

"I just want to do the best I can for the group, play my role and hopefully become one of the players who gets chosen all the time," Jones says.