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Neco Williams urged to “commit” to Wales with England waiting in the wings

Neco Williams has been urged to commit his international career with Wales, with England circling the Liverpool right-back.

The 19-year-old recently signed a new long-term deal with the Reds which will keep him at Anfield until 2025, and now he is being urged to take the next step with Wales.

Williams has been capped by Wales at youth level but having yet to make a senior appearance his international future remains in his hands, as he also qualifies to represent England through his grandparents.

Reports surfaced that the Three Lions were interested in seeing him switch allegiances but with the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Kieran Trippier in the mix for Gareth Southgate it would not be a straightforward path.

The expectation was that Williams was to be named in Ryan Giggs’ squad in March before the fixtures were postponed due to coronavirus, but now the Nations League games against Finland and Bulgaria in September opens the door for his international fate to be sealed.

And John Hartson, former Wales and Celtic striker has urged his national compatriot to commit himself to the Dragons and ensure he is one of the next group of “exciting” young players to represent his country.

“I’m sure he’s going to win an awful lot of caps,” Hartson, who scored 14 goals in 51 appearances for Wales, told BBC Sport.

“He’s played at the younger levels. I hope that he will commit himself to Wales and I wouldn’t be surprised if he featured in the next two games. Ideally for himself that [Nations League games] would be great.

CARDIFF, WALES - Saturday, November 16, 2019: Walesí Neco Williams (left) celebrates scoring his side's second goal from the penalty spot with Isaak Davies during the UEFA Under-19 Championship Qualifying Group 5 match between Russia and Wales at the Cardiff International Sports Stadium. (Pic by Mark Hawkins/Propaganda)

“I can’t think of a more exciting era and a group of young players than Ryan Giggs has to choose from right now.

“It’s a magnificent generation of players we’ve got coming through and providing competition for places. There’s no situation where any player can get comfortable.”

After rising out of obscurity, Williams has cemented himself as the deputy to Trent at Anfield next season and already has 11 senior appearances to his name, with his debut having arrived less than a year ago.

And the level of competition the 19-year-old faces at club level, in addition to his expected game time, is something which can hold him in good stead for Wales, should he commit his future to the country of his birth.

“Obviously Liverpool want to tie him down,” Hartson continued. “They see him as an integral part of their group and their squad.

“Neco obviously is going to have to try and push on and improve his game and everything else to knock those guys off their perch, if you like.

“It’s going to be difficult, but I’m sure Williams can play in a number of positions.

“Liverpool feel confident of getting him in and giving him lots of games. I’m sure he wouldn’t have signed if he didn’t feel he could push his way into the side.

“As a young player you’ve got to show a bit of patience, but when you get a chance you’ve got to make sure you take it.”

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