Gareth Bale has confirmed that he played a role in convincing Ben Woodburn to pledge his allegiances to Wales and reject the advances from England.
The 17-year-old Liverpool winger announced his arrival on the international stage with a well-taken goal four minutes into his Wales debut during their 2-1 win over Austria in a World Cup qualifier clash on Saturday (2 September).
Woodburn is likely to play again when Wales take on Moldova in what is a must-win game for their hopes of qualifying for the showpiece event in Russia in 2018. The winger is eligible to play for England as he was born in Nottingham to English parents.
England have made a number of advances to convince the Reds winger to defect to the country of his residence, but he committed his international future to the Wales national team. Bale revealed that he played his part in swaying Woodburn during a friendly against Netherlands in 2015 when the two were seated in the same box.
"I remember meeting him. I was injured for the Holland game and he sat in the box next to me because we're in the same agency, Stellar," Bale said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
"I had a little chat with him, and obviously I wanted to get him on board because we knew he was a great player. He's a typical winger, likes to take on a player, likes to shoot, likes to cross. We're delighted to have him. He's Welsh anyway, so he's ours," the Real Madrid star added.
Bale, however, is aware that such an explosive debut will bring added pressure to deliver in every game. But the former Tottenham Hotspur attacker is keen to shield the youngster from the spotlight and make him feel comfortable in his new surroundings.
"I've been in his position before, as youngster it's a lot to come in. So we don't want to put pressure on shoulders," the Wales international said. "I know he's scored a great goal and done great on his debut, but we want him to feel comfortable. Put the pressure on us – we have the experience to deal with it and we can guide him."
Bale, meanwhile, continues to be linked with a move away from the Spanish capital club with Manchester United touted to be his next potential destination. He was linked with a move away this summer, but that was quickly rubbished by his agent.
The Red Devils, however, are not willing to give up and according to ESPN, they are ready to wait for another year and make a fresh move next summer. The Welshman is not guaranteed a regular place in the starting XI following the emergence of Marco Asensio and Isco and if he fails to play regularly United manager Jose Mourinho, who has already confirmed his interest in signing him, is likely to make a move again.