Southgate brushes off Liverpool man’s England snub

Date published: Monday 4th September 2017 9:40

Gareth Southgate has offered his response to Ben Woodburn’s decision to play for Wales instead of England.

Liverpool winger Woodburn was eligible to play for England, and represented the country at numerous youth levels.

The 17-year-old instead opted to link up with Wales, the birthplace of his maternal grandfather, for whom he scored his first goal in a World Cup qualifying win over Austria on Saturday.

Southgate suggests that there is little he could have done to persuade Woodburn, and other players of dual-nationality, to choose England.

“We have lots of kids who are dual-nationality in our programme and it is increasingly difficult to monitor all of them. You cannot pick all of them at younger ages,” Southgate said.

“[Woodburn] is one that did train with us in some of the junior ages, but some of the countries are able to fast-track them more quickly and of course that appeals to some of the kids.

“And also some of them will feel that their heart belongs to other countries as well, so that is a personal choice and we wish him well.”

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