Harry Wilson spoke to the press this week ahead of the matches against Spain and Rep. of Ireland. He talks about his progress with club and country, playing at the Principality Stadium for the first time, the competition in the squad and his free-kick practice.
Loan spells with Derby and Hull and a return to the Wales setup:
“It has been a really good start to the season overall. This year with Derby has been great and being a regular pick for the Wales squads too, I’m delighted.
“It was frustrating for me that I picked up an injury last month and missed four or five games, but now I’ve come back and I’m playing well and feeling fit and strong.”
“Lampard has been great. I spoke to him on the phone before I went there and the way he spoke and what he told me about how he wanted his team to play made me realise it was the right club for me.
“Since I’ve been there I’ve learned a lot and his coaches help me too. The way we’ve played in the last month or so has shown how we’ve progressed as a team.”
Wilson stresses that going out on loan was vital for his progress and experience as a footballer. He mentions the wonderful loan spell he had at Hull for five months in 2018.
“Earlier in the year, I was desperate to get out on loan and get some senior appearances in. When Hull came calling I thought it would be a great move for me.
“I managed to score some goals and get some assists [for Hull], got my call-up to the Wales squad and my full debut, as well as my first international goal.”
“Being a regular selection for Wales squads now is great and I want to stay here.”
Making Wales debut and the hot competition
Wilson is smiling as he’s chatting and is clearly enjoying his lifestyle at the moment. He recognises that patience is key when you’re a young footballer and understands the frustrations Ben Woodburn is currently having at Sheffield United, as he experienced a similar spell at Crewe.
“I made my Wales debut at a very young age. Chris Coleman showed his faith in me by putting me in at 16.
“I didn’t get an appearance for Wales for a few years after that, but I think when you’re that young you’ve got to be patient and learn your trade on the football ladder.”
“We all know the quality that Ben [Woodburn] has. He’s not playing regularly at the minute, which I suppose he wants like every player does.
“He will come out of the other side as a stronger player. When he gets his chance I’m sure he’ll perform.”
Competition in every position is key to a successful team and Wilson’s strongest position as a wide attacker is filled with mouthwatering options – Bale, Brooks, Woodburn, Lawrence, not to mention being coached by one of the world’s best left-midfielders ever.
“I think it’s a good competition to have, as we all know the qualities each other have. We’re all a similar age as well, so we’re learning these experiences together.”
“To have the manager that we’ve got, who played in the same position means that we’re learning every day.
“He doesn’t join in too much on the training ground, but when he does you can see his touch, his passing and his vision is still there definitely.”
Free kick specialist
As well as becoming a competent winger, he also demonstrated a superb free kick technique against Manchester United in the Carabao Cup a couple of weeks ago – executing it to perfection, to the level of Bale or Ronaldo’s quality.
“If Gareth isn’t on the pitch for one reason or another I’ll be putting my name forward, and then depending on where the free kick is on the pitch – hopefully I’ll be able to take it.”
“I just think that if the free kick is as far out as what it was [against Manchester United], it’s a bit too far to curl it, so I think it’s important to have a couple of techniques in your locker just in case the free kick is a bit further out.”
“I try and spend a bit of time after training with a couple of the lads trying to get that free kick technique, so to see it come off on the big stage was nice.”
“I think a lot of players try and replicate that technique, but only a couple have perfected it – Gareth [Bale] being one and [Cristiano] Ronaldo the other.”
Playing at the Principality Stadium
“It’s a stadium I’ve always wanted to play at. I was there a couple of times when I was younger as a fan.
“The last game I went to was the England game in 2011. I remember sitting there seeing a full house and one day wishing that would be me. Hopefully, that day will be on Thursday.”
“The Cardiff City Stadium has done us well. Some of the performances we’ve put in there and the atmosphere that’s been generated there has been great.
“I think the change can be good; more fans can go and get the chance to watch us and we’re hoping to put on a good performance for them.”
On the prospect of playing against Spain on Thursday, Wilson says he was a massive admirer of the Barcelona team ten years ago. This was a Barcelona side that included the Spanish talents of Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol, to name a few.
“I watched Barcelona a lot when I was growing up, from 2008 onwards I’d say. Watching them on European nights and most league games, they were phenomenal.”
Wilson’s flatmate and Derby teammate, Mason Mount, was called up to the England squad last week and they will face Spain next week, after Wales’ match.
“I’ll message Mason [Mount] after the game and ask him how he’s getting on and I’m sure he’ll do the same with me. If he asks for any secrets about Spain, I’ll tell him no problem.”
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