We are always proud of our players when they receive international recognition. At Park Hall we have two full internationals with striker Greg Draper and former player, now assistant manager, Steve Evans, having represented New Zealand and Wales respectively.
We also have a host of others who have proudly worn their national shirt. As reported during the course of last season, that includes Wales’ Callum Jones.
Part of the successful Professional Phase squad here at Park Hall, Callum has also featured in the first team set-up under Scott Ruscoe. This week Callum received his international cap at Wrexham AFC’s Racecourse Ground, presented by national manager, Ryan Giggs.
We chatted with Callum and began by asking him what it was like to be on the pitch alongside the Wales and Manchester United legend. “It was a good experience because for many people he’s their hero, and as a child I watched him play, so receiving my cap from him was an honour”.
Looking at his own childhood, was Callum a Manchester United fan? “No, Liverpool”, he immediately replied!
What we want to know though is what did the legendary Giggs say to Callum when he presented him with his cap. “He said congratulations, keep working hard and hopefully you’ll see me in two years”, as the TNS youngster revealed the content of the conversation.
Although born in England, Callum qualifies for Wales because of a Welsh grandmother. We asked him about the highlights of his time with Wales so far. “Going to Ireland and beating them 2-0 in the second leg to bring the trophy home was a big achievement for us all”, he replied.
What was like it like when he made his international debut? “It was an honour“, came back the immediate reply. “From a child I’ve always wanted to play at the highest level that I can.When I walked out on the pitch I knew that I had to play the best that I could and do my best for the team.”
Back to Park Hall, as we know it’s a tough team to break into, but looking ahead, what does 2018/2019 hold for Callum Jones. “Hopefully I can keep improving and get chances from Scottie and Evo (Scott Ruscoe and Steve Evans) to train or play in behind-closed-doors friendlies. It’s being around the squad and learning from the more experienced players, who have been there and done it”.
Having made his debut for the senior side and also played in a number of the aforementioned friendlies, we reminded Callum of the interview that we did with him following one such game at Compton, the training ground of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Having had a taste of the ‘big time’, so to speak, there’s plenty of motivation to push on in his career, to which he replied: “Yes, a carrot has been dangled and I want to take every opportunity that I get. I want to impress Scottie and Evo and hopefully end up with a pro contract at the end of it”.
Finally, as with all that represent their respective nation, everyone at Park Hall is proud of Callum and we wish him all the very best for the future.