Luke Harris earns chance to impress Wales ahead of World Cup

·3 min read
Fulham teenager Luke Harris has been called into the Wales senior squad at the age of 17 (Simon Galloway/PA) (PA Archive)
Fulham teenager Luke Harris has been called into the Wales senior squad at the age of 17 (Simon Galloway/PA) (PA Archive)

Fulham teenager Luke Harris has been handed a chance to stake his claim for a place in Wales’ World Cup party.

The 17-year-old attacking midfielder has been named in Robert Page’s 28-man squad for the Nations League games against Belgium and Poland next week.

Harris made his Fulham debut in the Carabao Cup last month and has been on the bench several times in the Premier League this season.

Page said: “He has been in the system now for a few years. He’s a talent and an exciting prospect.

“He’s doing really well at his club and he scores goals.

“When you have someone with that talent – albeit that he’s just turned 17 years old – then I am not bothered about his age.

“I have shown that in the past with Rabbi (Matondo), Joe Rodon and DJ (Dan James) and others I have worked with at Under-21 level and the younger age groups.”

Wales manager Robert Page says he is not afraid to give young players a senior opportunity (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)
Wales manager Robert Page says he is not afraid to give young players a senior opportunity (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

Jersey-born Harris scored 13 goals in 17 league appearances for Fulham Under-23s last season.

Last month he struck a Premier League 2 hat-trick against a Chelsea side featuring Ben Chilwell, Ethan Ampadu and Trevoh Chalobah.

Page said: “When you have someone scoring goals – including regular hat-tricks – then it makes him an exciting prospect and one I can’t wait to get involved with the other boys.

“He’s ready for it. I have met him and his family. He has got a great family support network around him, and he wouldn’t be where he is at club level if he wasn’t ready for it.

When you have someone with that talent - albeit that he’s just turned 17 years old - then I am not bothered about his age

Robert Page on Luke Harris

“I have spoken to coaches who have worked with him, but I’ve never coached him directly. Having been head of the intermediates when he has played at younger age groups, I know all about him.

“For these two games, I think it’s a great opportunity for him to come in and get a taste of it, to experience it, and for us to have a look at him.

Injured trio Aaron Ramsey, Harry Wilson and Adam Davies all miss Wales’ final Nations League games, their last fixtures before the World Cup starts in November.

Fulham midfielder Wilson and Sheffield United goalkeeper Davies are both training outside again after suffering pre-season knee injuries.

Aaron Ramsey, right, has been ruled out of Wales action this month after picking up an injury playing for Nice (Daniel Cole/AP) (AP)
Aaron Ramsey, right, has been ruled out of Wales action this month after picking up an injury playing for Nice (Daniel Cole/AP) (AP)

Page is also confident Ramsey will soon return from a hamstring injury sustained playing for new club Nice.

He said: “It’s not a major injury, it’s a slight hamstring tear. I’m glad it’s happened now because he’s gone from not playing to playing week in and week out.

“Inevitably it was going to catch up with him. So if he was going to do it now’s the time, so he can fully recover.”

Tyler Roberts returns after missing the World Cup play-off final victory over Ukraine and four Nations League games this summer due to injury.

Squad: W Hennessey (Nottingham Forest), D Ward (Leicester), T King (Salford), C Gunter (AFC Wimbledon), B Davies (Tottenham), C Roberts (Burnley), C Mepham (Bournemouth), J Rodon (Rennes, on loan from Tottenham), B Cabango (Swansea), N Williams (Nottingham Forest), R Norrington-Davies (Sheff Utd), E Ampadu (Spezia, on loan from Chelsea), W Burns (Ipswich), J Allen (Swansea), J Morrell (Portsmouth), M Smith (MK Dons), D Levitt (Dundee United), J Williams (Swindon), S Thomas (Huddersfield), R Colwill (Cardiff), L Harris (Fulham), B Johnson (Nottingham Forest), D James (Fulham, on loan from Leeds), G Bale (Los Angeles FC), K Moore (Bournemouth), M Harris (Cardiff), R Matondo (Rangers), T Roberts (QPR, on loan from Leeds).