Harry Wilson: Liverpool and Wales youngster inspired by 'fantastic summer'

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Bale and Ramsey my role models - Wilson

Like tens of thousands of Welsh supporters who travelled to France, Harry Wilson was just a face in the crowd when Wales played Slovakia in their opening game of Euro 2016.

The 19-year-old was with his parents in Bordeaux to see Wales play their first game in a major finals for 58 years, and he revelled in the "fantastic summer" as Wales reached the semi-finals.

But Wilson was no ordinary supporter.

He had played alongside six of the side that featured in the 2-I win against Slovakia when he won his first, and so far only senior cap, three years previously.

The Liverpool midfielder became Wales' youngest ever international in November 2013 when as a 16-year-old he came on as a late substitute against Belgium.

"It's everyone's dream to represent Wales and when you get that chance, which I did at a young age, you've got to relish it," Wilson said.

Wales' Euro 2016 exploits have only renewed Wilson's desire to earn a recall to the senior squad as they bid to reach the 2018 World Cup finals.

Time is on his side and he is encouraged that manager Chris Coleman, the man who handed him his debut in Brussels, and his management team are keeping a close eye on his performances for Wales Under-21s.

"They're always keeping in touch," Wilson told BBC Wales Sport.

"It's great to know he's [Coleman] keeping an eye on the Under-21s and the players coming through.

Harry Wilson and Craig Bellamy
Harry Wilson with Craig Bellamy after coming on to make his senior Wales debut against Belgium in 2013

"When I'm playing for Wales Under-21s I'm always trying to do my best so if the manager is watching he can see I'm playing well.

"And here at Liverpool performing in the Under-23 league, which is a good league, gives me every chance to get back in that Welsh squad."

Corwen-raised Wilson admits his call up to the senior squad and subsequent first cap in the final game of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign was unexpected.

"I was training at Liverpool got the phone call and they wanted me to go down and train," Wilson recalls.

"I felt I did well in training and there was a lot of injuries and my chance came, although it was only five minutes.

"It was an unbelievable feeling for me and my family and a proud moment. Maybe it did add a bit of pressure but I didn't feel it.

"I said to myself 'that's happened now, If I come back to Liverpool and keep progressing well then hopefully I'll get a lot more of this in the future'."

In contrast to his international career, Wilson is yet to make a first team appearance for his club side.

But Liverpool handed the Wrexham-born youngster a long-term contract in July after a spell on loan at Crewe Alexandra in 2015-16.

"Last season didn't go as well as I wanted and I missed a large part of the season with injuries," Wilson said.

"It was nice to be offered a new contract and now that I'm fit I can show the club the qualities that I've got and work my way up to the first team.

Harry Wilson in action for Liverpool's Under-23 side
Harry Wilson in action for Liverpool's Under-23 side against Arsenal

Wilson was given a further boost ahead of the new season when he was appointed captain of Liverpool's Under-23 side.

"It's a massive honour for me and added responsibility but one I'm happy to have," said Wilson, who was told of his appointment ahead of a pre-season game at Rhyl.

"I think I'm a leader in a different way. I'm not going to do it with my mouth on the pitch.

"Maybe if the team needs a bit of inspiration during the game, I can provide that and push them forward."

Wilson says there is "big buzz" at the club under manager Jurgen Klopp.

The German is a regular spectator of the club's Under-23 games, which also feature fellow Welsh players Jordan Williams and Ben Woodburn.

"It's great that he's willing to give the youngsters a chance if you're playing well and doing well," Wilson added.

"Everything we do we try and mirror the first team.

"When you're in there it's up to you to do well then so if I keep doing well for the Under-23s, hopefully my chance will come."

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