Ben Woodburn: A star is born in red for Liverpool and now Wales

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As the ball dropped from the sky, without taking his eyes off it, the youngster controlled it deftly with one beautiful touch.

With a quick shift to the right, Ben Woodburn opened out his body, kept his head down, and unleashed a pile driver that arrowed into the bottom left-hand corner.

A fierce, guttural noise was unleashed inside the cauldron of the Cardiff City Stadium. The 17-year-old had just scored a vital winner for his country a handful of minutes into his senior international debut. A star was born.

The young Liverpool prodigy had already become the club’s youngest ever goalscorer after netting in last season’s EFL Cup victory. He had now become his country’s eighth youngest behind names such as Ryan Giggs and Gareth Bale.

It wasn’t just the goal, though. The 20-minute cameo was hugely impressive and belied his tender age. His assured touch and fearless composure on the ball had fans of both Wales and Liverpool purring.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has already admitted his struggles in keeping the Welshman under wraps. If it was difficult before, it’ll be impossible now.

The teenager made nine appearances for the Merseyside club last season, including one Premier League start against Stoke City. But many at Anfield expect him to better that this term with Liverpool fighting on four different fronts.

Wales head coach Chris Coleman will also be tempted to start the precocious talent against Moldova tonight, too.

A win will be vital to keep pace with the Republic of Ireland and Serbia, who play each other in Dublin. Another Woodburn special this evening and his star will hit the stratosphere.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Cian Carroll

Starting life as a football columnist for his local paper in Dundalk, Cian has written for a number of media outlets with pieces published in The Birmingham Mail and Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo. A lover of football, GAA, boxing, rugby and MMA, he’s a big Aston Villa and Dundalk fan. He can be regularly spotted on various mountain tops.