THE REGULAR debate of ‘club versus country’ has once again come to the fore following the spectacular debut of 17-year-old Ben Woodburn.
His Welsh national team manager Chris Coleman said that he believed his young forward was “ready” for his first international cap despite of concerns expressed by club boss Jurgen Klopp.
Woodburn, 17, scored the winner on his debut against Austria in the recent series of World Cup qualifiers after coming on as a late substitute, then came off the bench again in Moldova to set up Hal Robson-Kanu’s 80th-minute opener.
“Jurgen felt it was a bit early for Ben,” said Coleman. “But we’ve all got opinions, which is what is great about football.”
Klopp expressed his misgivings when Woodburn was first called into the senior squad for a World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland in March, saying he was “surprised”.
Coleman said: “I felt that if he was in the first team for Liverpool – and he is, he scored that great debut goal at the Kop end – then he was ready. We weren’t going to start him in both games and play him for 90 minutes. We were going to be choosy with when we use him – but he’s a good young talent, that’s for sure.”
Woodburn made nine appearances in his breakthrough season for Liverpool last season, but he is yet to be part of their matchday squad this season so far.
Coleman concluded: “It will be up to Jurgen and Ben on how far or close he is to the first team. What we’ve seen is that he is a very bright player and he’s certainly shown enough with us again. Whatever comes in the next six or 12 months will be up to Jurgen and Ben himself.”