TOWN midfielder Jake Howells was delighted to be called up to the Wales U21 squad to face Hungary in a friendly next month, writes Mark Wood.
The 20-year-old starlet was a surprise inclusion in Brian Flynn’s squad for the game on August 10 which was named yesterday.
Howells, pictured right, said: “The manager of the Wales U21 team came and watched the final at Manchester City and got in touch with my agent because Howells is a Welsh name and he thought I might have some Welsh in me.
“He spoke to my agent, went through the club and sorted out my details. It’s (his Welsh ancestry) from my dad’s dad, although he is not with us now.”
Although it’s just a friendly Howells hoping that if he impresses he will be involved in Wales’ subsequent European Championships qualifying campaign.
The former England C international said: “It’s a bit different. England C is just this league and below, under 21 is every league.
“I’m really proud to be called up and hope to do well when I play.
“It’s a stepping stone. I’ve got it in my blood. I will be as proud as playing for England. If I do well you don’t know what might happen.
“I’ve got a better opportunity of playing in the Wales first team.
“The manager says every year five or six go on to play in the first team. He said if I do well in the friendly he would love to have me in the qualifiers. We’ve just got to see how Hungary goes really.
“There’s a good standard of players so I’ve got to step up to the mark. I will come back as a better player and that’s what it’s all about.”
The prospect of playing alongside Spurs winger Gareth Bale is a huge draw for Howells, who admitted: “I would love to - it’s a dream.
“It’s (the U21s) good to have on your CV. Playing for the U21s, not many people get picked in this league and I’m over the moon.”
He’s also anticipating plenty of ribbing from his team-mates, saying: “I don’t think most of the lads know yet. When it comes out they will banter me off a bit, but it’s football and I love it.”
Town boss Gary Brabin said: “We’ve known it’s been in the pipeline. We met some Wales representatives last week with Jake.
“I think he really deserves it and has come on leaps and bounds in the last few months.
“I said beforehand about our Welsh midfield trio (Howells, Alex Lawless and Adam Watkins). I told Adam Dunstable was in Wales and I think he believed me.”
On the banter, Brabin added: “It hasn’t stopped. I think the only person sticking up for him is Alex Lawless!”