Wales confident Lewis Koumas will not switch allegiance to England

By Sports Desk March 14, 2024

Wales are confident Liverpool striker Lewis Koumas will continue to play for them on the international stage and not change his allegiance to England.

Dual-qualified Koumas has been promoted to the Wales Under-21 set-up after being capped at U19 level and breaking in to the first-team picture at Liverpool.

The 18-year-old was an unused substitute in Liverpool’s Carabao Cup final victory over Chelsea and scored on his senior debut in the 3-0 FA Cup defeat of Southampton at Anfield last month.

Koumas’ father Jason was a full Wales international, winning 34 caps between 2001 and 2009 while playing for West Brom, Cardiff and Wigan.

But Koumas was born in Chester and Wales U21 coach Matty Jones said in October that England were “aggressively pursuing” the teenager.

“Absolutely. I’ve always got confidence with our young Welsh lads because when they initially have those experiences (being selected for age-group teams), they connect,” Jones said when asked if he was confident that Koumas would fully commit to Wales.

“The relationships we build, the due diligence we’ve done over the last six to eight weeks. I’ve had four visits to Liverpool and monitored Lewis’ performance.

“I’ve sat and had lunch with him, getting to understand him as a human being.

“To know how to best manage him, what makes him tick and also his threats and abilities he can pose for us as a team.

“The feedback from (manager) Rob Edwards with the exposure he’s had from the 19s has helped us as well.

“All that accumulates into one big package where he can hopefully come in with us and flourish.

“The opportunity is there but let’s not ignore the fact this squad is currently doing really well and there will be competition to get a place in the team.”

Wales play Lithuania in Newport on March 22 and are chasing qualification for the 2025 UEFA European U21 Championship in Slovakia.

The young Dragons trail group leaders Denmark on goal difference and currently occupy a play-off spot.

Wales manager Rob Page has resisted the temptation to invite Koumas into his full squad for now, although the proximity of training for the seniors and U21s at Hensol means the Liverpool youngster could be spending time with Aaron Ramsey and company in some sessions next week.

Jones said: “Lewis is a very ambitious young player and there’s no surprise why he’s excelling.

“The taste he’s had of senior exposure – he’s trained quite regularly with the first-team – has elevated him.

“They’ve taken a liking to him, everyone I’ve spoken to at Liverpool loves his self-confidence and his ability to drive at people and run.

“He’s developing on a daily basis, but the big thing is he can’t wait to come in.

“He’ll be joining us late after the Manchester United-Liverpool game on Sunday, but we couldn’t be in a better place.

“Hopefully there’ll be game time for him and an opportunity to show us what he’s about.”

Defenders Terence Miles (Liverpool) and Alex Williams (West Brom) also make their first appearances in an U21 squad for a double header that includes a friendly with an Olympics-bound Morocco U23 side in Antalya, Turkey, on March 26.

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