Town’s on-loan Sheffield United full back Rhys Norrington-Davies has revealed how his call-up to the Welsh national side for the first time in his fledgling career this week was something that was pencilled on his to do list this season.
The 21-year-old only joined Luton in the summer, moving from Bramall Lane for the season after impressing in League One for Rochdale last term.
He has caught the eye from the word go for Town, and clearly got the attention of Wales boss and Man United Legend Ryan Giggs, who selected him in a 27-man squad for games with England (friendly), and Nations League double header against Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria.
Norrington-Davies, who has played for the country’s age levels previously, admitted he had set his sights on making the senior squad during his time at Kenilworth Road, saying: “Doing well at Luton is my main priority this season, but I remember the first day I came in, I talked with the gaffer (Nathan Jones) and he asked me what my intentions were this season.
“One of them was to get a first team call up to the Welsh national squad.
“Obviously it’s come a bit earlier than I thought it would have, but I’m over the moon with it really, it’s amazing.
“I only found out about an hour before the squad got announced yesterday (Wednesday), I had a feeling that it might happen, but you’re never too sure and when I found out I was over the moon, I was absolutely buzzing.
“It wasn’t from Ryan Giggs himself, I just got an email, letting me know the itinerary for the week and what’s going to happen.
“I’m looking forward to meeting up with the boys on Sunday, but I’ve got a big fixture before then on Saturday, so that’s the main focus at the moment.”
Asked why he had an inkling the call might happen, the defender continued: “I’d been involved with the U21s throughout the set up and I’ve stepped up from League One to the Championship now, so it’s another step up.
“I wouldn’t have been disappointed if I didn’t get called up, it’s just one of those you take, but I’ve been playing okay, been playing good football.
“Then just looking back at the last camp, he (Giggs) took one left back away with him, so it’s something that I always had in the back of my head that I could have been that next left back to get that opportunity and thankfully it’s happened.”
Norrington-Davies has come through the ranks for Wales, playing at all the age groups, despite not actually being born in the country, hailing from Saudi Arabia.
When asked how the move occurred, he said: “The reason I was born in Saudi was my old man’s job.
“My mum’s Welsh, my dad’s Welsh, so I’m Welsh through and through and I’ve lived in Wales since the age of six, so I would 100 per cent class myself as Welsh.
“I’ve never had a call up from Saudi though!”
Despite putting on the Wales jersey a number of times in his career, doing it for the full team will be something else for Norrington-Davies, as he said: “It will be completely different.
“I’ve gone through the set up, done the 16s, 18s, and 21s, but for the first time, it’s completely different.
“It’s a little bit disappointing that there won’t be any fans, but the family, all my friends back home will be supporting, so it means everything to me.
“It is a little bit frustrating, but the first thing I did was phone my mum, phone my dad, they were over the moon for me, I think my mum even started crying, so that summed it up for me.
“The support I’ve had from the community, everyone back home, has been fantastic.
“The amount of people that have messaged me, people that I used to go to school with, the support so far has been incredible.
“I’m just looking forward to, if I get some game time, putting Aberystwyth on the map.
“Quite a few of the local lads have come through the system and been capped, Tom Bradshaw for instance, so I’m just hopeful I can get myself into that squad.”
Born in 1999, Norrington-Davies doesn’t have too many memories of the dark days for his country as by July 2015, they were 10th in the FIFA rankings, qualifying for Euro 2016 and a world away from their time in the doldrums of international football.
Giving his memories of supporting his country and why he thinks there has been such an improvement, the defender said: “Euro 2016, I was away on holiday, watching every game, they did very well indeed.
“I think it’s just the excitement around the first team these days.
“It’s a relatively young squad and when you’re introducing the young players into the set up, they are buzzing to be involved and they want to prove themselves.
“It’s that hungriness to be involved with the first team that’s resulted in Wales getting the results these days.”
Getting to work under Giggs, who won 64 caps himself for his country, plus countless honours in a glittering career at Old Trafford is something Norrington-Davies can’t wait to do either.
He said: “He’s a legend for Wales, a legend for Man United as well.
“Growing up, you just look up to your idols and to be fair he was one of my idols.
“I’m just looking forward to working underneath him, I’ve never done that before and just seeing what he’s about.”
Unfortunately on this occasion there will be no Gareth Bale to train with, the Real Madrid winger staying with Spurs to continue getting fit for another crack at the Premier League.
The Town full back said: “It would have (been good), he’s a massive name in football, a superstar really, but there’s loads of other big names in there as well.
“So it’s a little bit of a shame, but you take it as it comes, I’m just happy with the call up.”
The youngster has also been discussing life with Wales with Hatters team-mate Tom Lockyer, who has missed out on selection himself due to an ankle injury.
He said: “I’ve spoken to Locks, just chatting about it, he knows a couple of the boys there and I know quite a few from the U21s as well.
“So I’m looking forward to meeting up with them again and just taking it from there.”
Should Niorrington-Davies be involved straight away, it will be against the Three Lions, with Wales travelling to Wembley for a friendly on Thursday.
He said: “It’s never really a friendly against England.
“England are a massive, massive set up, so if I can get some minutes against them, then I’ll be over the moon.
“I’ll take anything if I’m honest, just being involved in the initial 27 man squad is a dream come true.
“We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully I do well in the training, see what happens during the friendly, try and get some minutes and if I do, take my opportunity then and put myself in contention for the competitive matches that come up.”
There’s a chance that Norrington-Davies could come up against his Blades team-mates John Egan, Enda Stevens and David McGoldrick when Wales face the Irish on on Sunday.
He admitted the quips won’t start until just beforehand, adding: “I haven’t spoken to any of the Sheffield boys yet.
“If I make the match day squad, then great, and if I’m involved then even better, but I’ll speak to them nearer the time.”