By Daniel Moxon – @dmoxon_
Harry Wilson has gone from strength to strength in recent times, and Liverpool fans are only getting more and more excited about the youngster’s potential to develop into a quality player for the club.
Even now, out on loan at Frank Lampard’s Derby County, the Welshman is pulling up trees on a weekly basis in the Championship – scoring a world-class free-kick against Manchester United and celebrating with a reference to the Reds’ five European Cups is also a sure-fire way to endear yourself to the Anfield faithful!
But where on earth did he come from? Wilson has shown a lot of promise from a young age, having joined the club when he was eight, and became Wales’ youngest-ever full international when he made his debut aged just 16 years and 207 days – a full 108 days younger than the iconic Gareth Bale.
“He was an incredible player”, says Ioan Evans, who played with Wilson at a number of youth levels. “I first met him when I was about 15, played with him in throughout North Wales training camps. From then we played together regularly for Wales u16 and u17 and at various different tournaments.
“He was always so light on his feet and very quick from an early age. He’s always been small but he had an absolute wand of a left foot.”
So his natural ability as a footballer has always been present, then, but what was he like as a promising young footballer with the world at his feet?
“He was a genuinely nice guy, and there aren’t too many of them around in football!”, laughs Evans, who signed professional terms with boyhood club Sheffield United as a 17 year old. “From what I remember, he was never a massive fan of the gym, and he was always changing his hairstyle!”
A footballer constantly changing their hair? Never! But did he ever lose focus on the real goal of making it in such a cruel and unforgiving industry?
“Not from what I saw”, says Evans, “He just got better and better.
“In the Victory Shield, at both u15 and u16 level, he was good but in the u17 euro qualifiers he was just incredible.
“We drew 5-5 in a game with Hungary and he only scored once but literally every time he had the ball you thought something was going to happen – it’s very rare you see that on a day-to-day basis.”
There have been so many promising young players that have failed to make the grade in the professional world. Even at Liverpool along, countless of future ‘stars’ of the first-team have come and gone having made little or no impact.
Wilson has had a terrific start to professional life – he has looked the real deal on two separate loan spells in the Championship, with Hull City and currently with the Rams, and is a shining light in the Welsh national side of late.
Evans, who currently plies his trade with Evo-Stik League Premier Division side Gainsborough Trinity via a spell in Sweden with Ange IF, thinks he has a great chance of kicking on and fully-fulfilling his undoubted potential.
“He’s got as much of a chance as anyone with his natural talent. He’s similar to Brooksy at Bournemouth, who I know well. They both have a lot of natural skill and agility, they’re quicker with the ball and can see a pass as well as having a world-class left foot.”
So he has all the requisite tools to become a quality player for Liverpool and Wales for years to come. Direct, pacy and a cracking left foot – sounds like another Welshman that we all know very well… so we ask, can he become the next Gareth Bale?
“I don’t think anyone can compare to Gareth Bale! I think both Brooksy and Harry aren’t as physically gifted as Bale, but football is the most bizarre game ever invented.
“Luck, timing and opportunity are vital so his talent can take him so far but I would definitely back Harry to become a Welsh and Liverpool legend if given the chance.”
So there we have it, from a lad who has known Harry Wilson for a long time and played with him at lots of different levels – with more demonstrations of his talent and a little luck, Harry Wilson could well become a first-team regular for both club and country one day.