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Promising Liverpool ace who scored on debut handed first Wales U21s call-up with bosses confident he will REJECT England

WALES are confident Liverpool rising star Lewis Koumas will not swap allegiances to England.

The uncapped 18-year-old impressed on his debut for Jurgen Klopp’s quadruple chasing side and scored in the FA Cup fifth round win over Southampton at Anfield.

Lewis Koumas has been handed his first Wales under-21 call-up

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Lewis Koumas has been handed his first Wales under-21 call-upCredit: Rex
Koumas impressed on his Liverpool debut in the FA Cup fifth round last month

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Koumas impressed on his Liverpool debut in the FA Cup fifth round last monthCredit: AFP

Promising Koumas, son of Wales midfielder Jason, was born in Chester and qualifies for the Three Lions but has been called up to the Welsh U21s for the first time.

And U21s boss Matty Jones has no fears forward Koumas would make the switch away from the Dragons after making four visits to Liverpool.

When asked if Jones was confident Koumas would commit to Wales, the ex-Leeds and Leicester midfielder, 43, said: “Absolutely. I’ve always got confidence with our young Welsh lads because when they initially have those experiences they connect.

“The relationships we build, the due diligence we’ve done over the last six to eight weeks. I’ve had four visits to Liverpool and monitored him in performance.

“I’ve sat and had lunch with him, getting to understand him as a human being. To know how to best manage him, what makes him tick and also his threats and abilities he can pose for us as a team.

“He’s mixing with the first-team players at Liverpool and excelling. We need to take advantage of his confidence and blood him into the group quite patiently. We’ll assess that when he comes into camp in terms of how he settles.”

Jones, whose side face Lithuania in a Euro U21 qualifier next Friday, played alongside Koumas for Wales – just as he did with Robbie Savage, whose son Charlie has also come through the Welsh youth ranks.

Jones added: “It’s an internal joke. Just seek out former team-mates and see if their sons are playing!

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“Jason’s been excellent. We haven’t connected for a number of years, but I’ve seen him since I’ve been going to Liverpool and monitoring Lewis.

“It was quite nice because you get that further insight of what Lewis is about – his temperament, character, personality, weaknesses.

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“I’ve had that from the club, from Lewis as well with honesty and from his dad as well. Jason has spoken about holding Lewis back from international experiences in younger years for him to focus on his domestic football. He’s a very ambitious young player and there’s no surprise why he’s excelling.

“I love the way Liverpool are managing him, that model of dropping players back into their own age groups. He’s scoring hat-tricks in the 18s and he’s dominating, that gives him a huge amount of confidence in his performance.

“He copes in 21s football at Liverpool and it’s an opportunity for him to explore and express his abilities. That taste he’s had of senior exposure – he’s trained quite regularly with the first-team – has elevated him. They’ve taken a liking to him.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to at Liverpool loves his self-confidence and his ability to drive at people and run. He just comes alive when the ball’s at his feet, but like any young player there are a lot of development areas. It’s my job now to polish those edges when he comes in and to manage those expectations.”

Koumas is also eligible to play for England and Cyprus

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Koumas is also eligible to play for England and CyprusCredit: Rex

Wales boss Rob Page resisted the urge to call up Koumas into his senior squad but hinted he could train with his side in the international window.

Page said: “He’s doing really well at Liverpool and he’s on the right track. We work really closely with Matty and the Under-21s.

“When he’s on camp there might be moments when we bring him over for training and introduce him that way. But what he’s got to focus on is enjoy his football and develop the way he is.

“The rest will take care of itself. It’s inevitable (that he will join us) at the right time. I’ve shown in the past that if I see a young lad with potential that I will bring them up and they will be part of the first team.”

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