A young footballer from Aberystwyth has fulfilled an ambition stated at the start of the season to be called up to the Wales senior squad.
On joining Championship side Luton Town on loan from Premier League outfit Sheffield United at the start of this campaign, Rhys Norrington-Davies told his new boss Nathan Jones that his intentions for the new season were to do well for the Hatters and get a first team call-up for the Welsh national squad.
The 21-year-old former Ysgol Penglais pupil said: “Obviously it’s come a little earlier than I thought it would have but I’m over the moon with it really.
“I’ve gone through the set-up, I’ve done the Under-16s, 19s and 21s, but for the first team it’s a completely different ball game again.
“It’s a little bit disappointing that there won’t be any fans but obviously the family and all my friends back home will be supporting so it means everything to me.”
The talented left-back has been picked by Ryan Giggs for the friendly against England next week, then the UEFA Nations League ties against the Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria.
The England match takes place on Thursday, 8 October with an 8pm kick-off at Wembley, before Wales head to Dublin for a 2pm kick-off at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, 11 October and a 9.45pm kick-off in Sofia the following Wednesday.
Twenty-one year-old Norrington-Davies, who has impressed in his six appearances for Luton so far, will hope to add a first senior cap to the 14 he already has to his name at Under-21 level.
He added: “I’m just looking forward to meeting up with the squad and Ryan Giggs himself is obviously a Welsh legend and I’m looking forward to working underneath him.
“Growing up you just look up to your idols and he was one of my idols.”
Talking about Gareth Bale’s absence from the squad as the Real Madrid man, currently on loan at Tottenham Hotspur, battles back to fitness after picking up an injury in Wales’ last match Norrington-Davies, who was born in Saudi Arabia to a Welsh mother and father, said: “He’s a massive name in football, a superstar really, but there’s loads of other big names there as well.”
Looking forward to next week’s game he added: “England are a massive set-up, if I can get some minutes against them I’ll be over the moon. I’ll take anything to be honest, just being involved in the initial 27-man squad is a dream come true.
“The support I’ve had from the community and everyone back home has been fantastic. The amount of people that have messaged me, people that I used to go to school with, I mean the support so far has been great."
The Hatters’ Welsh manager Nathan Jones has been impressed by Norrington-Davies’ contribution this season: “Deep down pleased that he’s been called up but to be honest he could really have done with a rest because he’s played big, big minutes in terms of the games and I would have hoped that I could have given him a few days off to rest up.
“He’s still only a young lad so to play six 90s at the level he has, first time playing Championship football and then to play international games I hope he doesn’t pick up an injury.”
He added: “I imagine he’s like a kid at Christmas. When he was told yesterday he was very excited, he’s buzzing today, but you can’t really tell because he’s buzzing every day. He’s a very upbeat character and we’re delighted to have him here. We’re really pleased for him.”
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