Ben Woodburn described his match-winning debut for Wales as “a dream come true” after the teenager scored the decisive goal in a 1-0 win over Austria.
The 17-year-old became the nation’s second-youngest goalscorer behind Gareth Bale when his searing 73rd-minute strike reignited Wales’ hopes of reaching the World Cup.
Born in England, the Liverpool youngster had been on the pitch for just five minutes before he fired the hosts to within two points of second-placed Republic of Ireland in Group D.
And with a home match against Ireland to come after clashes with Moldova and Georgia, the goal could prove to be a turning point in Wales’ qualification campaign.
“The ball just came out of the air and I just tried to shoot it as quickly as I could,” Woodburn told Sky Sports.
“It is a great feeling. I could not ask for much more from the fans. I will not sleep tonight.”
— Wales (@FAWales) September 2, 2017
Woodburn’s goal rewarded the faith of Wales boss Chris Coleman, who introduced the teenager in search of a much-needed three points.
With a play-off place now in reach, the former Fulham and Real Sociedad manager paid tribute to his new star’s cool head.
“I know his strike was fantastic but his all-round composure was great too,” Coleman said.
“I just told Ben to express himself in the last third and he knew all about his defensive duties.
“It was a great game for him to make his debut in – they do not come tougher than that.”
Wales have the chance to make it two straight victories in qualifying when they visit Moldova on Tuesday ahead of October’s all-important double-header.
Massive 3 points! Come on boys!! pic.twitter.com/rbIEEIflAU
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) September 2, 2017