Coleman insists he doesn’t need Klopp’s advice after calling up Woodburn
Chris Coleman insists in light of Ben Woodburn’s first Wales call-up that he decides his own mind about players aside from what club managers may think.
Jurgen Klopp said he was surprised Coleman did not call him before naming 17-year-old Woodburn in his squad for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Republic of Ireland and hinted it may have come too soon.
The Liverpool manager said Coleman now shares responsibility for the young forward’s development but that is a position the Wales boss appears comfortable with having tracked Woodburn since his initial involvement with the national set-up age 13.
Speaking before Klopp made his comments, Coleman said he did not ring the German because ‘I make my own mind up about a player’, adding: ‘I understand when you pick young players then clubs go, “Oh, calm down”. But I make my own mind up.
‘No matter how old he is, if he is good enough and I think he has something to offer us and can help us in this challenge then I am going to pick him. That’s no disrespect to Jurgen or anybody else who say maybe he’s not, but that’s their opinion.
‘He belongs to them but I’ve got a job to do for Wales and I have to pick my strongest squad.
‘At the minute from what I have seen he belongs in our strongest 23. That’s why he is there.’
Woodburn, who became Liverpool’s youngest ever goalscorer earlier this season, trained with the Wales senior team for the first time on Tuesday morning and Coleman will speak to him in depth during this camp.
He did not feel the need to ring Woodburn before calling him up, given his assistant Osian Roberts is in regular contact with the player’s parents.
‘The last time I spoke to Ben was before the last home game (against Serbia in November),’ Coleman said.
‘Osh has had conversations with his parents as we do with a lot of the young players in terms of the pathways. We will have a chat when he comes with us.
‘I know he is only 17 but I don’t think it is that much of a surprise. He’s done very well at Liverpool surrounded by top players and he deserves a shot. I’m not experimenting with this squad. We can’t afford to do that.’
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