I don’t know about you, but here in the storage closet at TLO Towers nobody had told me that there was an international break coming up. As usual, FIFA has displayed little to no consideration for the entertainment needs of football fans, scheduling a cluster of international friendlies just as the Champions League has been narrowed down to the final eight and the run-in in the domestic leagues has begun in earnest. Very on brand of them.
Not much else to do then, but follow Liverpool’s representatives in this round of nonsense fixtures with bated breath, fingers alternately covering your face in fear and interlacing in prayer that the squad won’t be decimated by the time Crystal Palace — that bogeyest of bogey teams — welcome the Reds on Easter morning. International breaks are the damn devil.
And yet. A glimmer of joy.
Liverpool fans will remember Ben Woodburn bursting onto the international scene with a goal and an assist in his first two games for Wales last year. It was a good time. Sure, Woodburn has since reversed into the background of both club and international football like so many Homer Simpsons into animated hedges, but we all had fun when it was going on. And on Thursday, another young Red donned the shirt of the Dragons for the first time, with similar success.
Since moving on loan in January, Harry Wilson has enjoyed a strong season in the Championship, scoring and assisting at a tremendous rate. Yesterday, he was rewarded for that fine form with an international debut, and, as he has done with his loan spell, he grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
The opposition may not have been the most illustrious, but you can only beat what’s in front of you, and for a 21-year old making his debut, a goal and an assist against China will more than do. For 70 minutes, the young attacker put on a forceful display, showing off mobility, skill, tenacity, passing range and, most importantly, end product. The goal is a bit of a peach, too.
Have a gander at the cherub-faced wideman’s performance in this compilation, and then get back to the praying and covering your eyes stuff.