NEWPORT, WALES - Friday, March 22, 2024: Wales' Lewis Koumas celebrates after scoring the winning second goal during the 2025 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group I game between Wales and Lithuania at Rodney Parade. (Photo by Will Cooper/Propaganda)

“It would be foolish” – Manager explains 1st senior call-up for Liverpool youngster

Liverpool striker Lewis Koumas has received his first senior Wales call for next week’s friendlies against Gibraltar and Slovakia.

Koumas has been named in a 25-man squad alongside fellow uncapped youngsters Charlie Crew and Fin Stevens.

But veteran goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and skipper Aaron Ramsey are among a list of absentees that also include David Brooks, Harry Wilson and Neco Williams.

“We’ve got to look to the future,” said Wales manager Rob Page, selecting his first squad since the disappointment of missing out on Euro 2024 after losing a penalty shoot-out to Poland in March.

“The games that we’ve got give us an opportunity to develop some of these younger players and expose them to the environment.

“They’ll get a taste of it so come September when we play the Nations League, and come next year when the World Cup qualifiers start, they’ve already had a taste of that experience.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 25, 2024: Liverpool's Lewis Koumas celebrates with the trophy after the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 1-0 after extra-time. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Koumas’ introduction is one that will excite Wales fans following his breakthrough at Anfield during the second half of last season.

The 18-year-old forward, son of former Wales midfielder Jason, scored on his Liverpool debut against Southampton in the FA Cup and was on the bench at Wembley for the Carabao Cup final victory over Chelsea.

Koumas also marked his Wales Under-21 debut in March with the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Lithuania.

Chester-born Koumas is joined by 17-year-old midfielder Crew who has yet to make his debut in senior football, but was in several Leeds matchday squads towards the end of the season.

Full-back Stevens, 21, was sent out on loan by Brentford last term and made 34 league appearances in helping Oxford win promotion to the Sky Bet Championship.

Page said: “How can I ignore it when [Koumas] has done what he has done for Liverpool in the first team?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 28, 2024: Liverpool's goal-scorer Lewis Koumas embraces manager Jürgen Klopp as he is substituted during the FA Cup 5th Round match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“It’s the same with Charlie, who has been part of the Leeds squad.

“He couldn’t come on our EFL camp because the Leeds manager Daniel Farke thinks that much of him that he’s been in and around the first team.

“It would be foolish of me not to get these two lads up.”

Wales play Gibraltar at the Estadio Algarve in Portugal on June 6 before meeting Slovakia in Trnava three days later.

Tottenham defender Ben Davies is again set to captain Wales in the absence of midfielder Ramsey, who suffered an injury-plagued season after returning to Cardiff last summer.