Tom King was given a crash course in learning the Welsh national anthem after he received a mobile call from Ryan Giggs.
Newport County goalkeeper King was called up alongside Wayne Hennessey and Adam Davies for Euro 2020 qualifiers against Azerbaijan in Baku on Saturday and Hungary at Cardiff City Stadium next Tuesday.
The call-up alongside Dan McNamara’s inclusion in the Republic of Ireland Under-21 squad and Keanu Marsh-Brown’s selection for Guyana means Newport’s scheduled fixture at Grimsby Town has been postponed.
Former England under-17 international King was overjoyed when Wales manager Giggs called him, telling iFollow Exiles: “It’s a great honour.
“My dad’s English and my mum’s Welsh. I have dual nationality. I rang mum first and then my nan, who speaks fluent Welsh and she recited the Welsh national anthem to me three or four times.
“That was a special moment.
“The initial meeting will be one of awe, but then once you cross that white line we are all equal.
🗣️ | “International recognition is what you dream of as a kid.”
— Newport County AFC (@NewportCounty) November 15, 2019
“It’s just what you dream of as a kid. International recognition is something that every kid growing up being a footballer wants.
“It’s a good feeling, but I know this is just the start of what’s going to be a long and illustrious career. Hopefully this is going to be the building block to build from.
“I had a call from the Wales manager.
“He said that the goalie coach had been to watch me a few times, which I was aware of.
“I was hoping that I had given a good account of myself on those occasions and thankfully this opportunity has arisen.
King is with the Wales squad in Azerbaijan for Saturday’s clash and they play Hungary in Cardiff on Tuesday. King then. Returns to Newport, who have home fixtures against Grimsby Town (Emirates FA Cup) on Wednesday, November 20 and Oldham in SkyBet League Two the following Saturday.
The winners of that County v Grimsby tie will travel to play Isthmian League Division One (North) Malden and Tiptree in Essex.
Newport are handily placed in League Two, still in the FA Cup and have progressed through the Leasing.Com Trophy group stages.
They clinched their place in the last 32 with a 7-4 win against Cheltenham Town thanks to goals from Taylor Maloney (3), Tristan Abrahams (3) and Matty Dolan (penalty).
Newport and group winners Exeter City move into the knockout stages, while West Ham under-23s and Cheltenham have gone out.
“It was my first professional hat-trick and I’m buzzing – I love scoring goals,” Abrahams.
“I’ve had an earful from Corey (Whiteley) and Dom (Jefferies) about not playing them in [for the hat-trick goal], but I was full of confidence and backed myself to score.
“Taylor scored his hat-trick first and took the match ball and I got one from the fourth official.”
Manager Michael Flynn was delighted, saying: “At times Corey Whitely and Tristan Abrahams were unplayable. They were superb. “Dom Poleon worked his socks off and was a thorn in Cheltenham’s side, Lewis Collins looked dangerous in spells. Taylor Maloney scored a hat-trick, Matty Dolan penalty and George Nurse looked superb.
“The two youngsters, Dom Jefferies and Joe Woodiwiss, did really well. I was really pleased for them. Joe had a bit of a shaky start but after that he was superb and that’s credit to him.
“It’s not very often that we’ll concede four goals, be happy and win the game so I’ll make the most of it.
Newport County AFC (4-4-2): Nick Townsend, Dom Jefferies, Kyle Howkins, Joe Woodiwiss (Scot Bennett 93), George Nurse, Corey Whitely, Matty Dolan, capt (Callum Jones 82), Taylor Maloney, Lewis Collins, Tristan Abrahams (Ryan Hillier 39), Dominic Poleon. Subs not used: Haynes, Labadie, Amond, Matt
Cheltenham Town (3-5-2): Rhys Lovett, Will Boyle, Ben Tozer (capt), Charlie Raglan, Sean Long, Chris Clements, Max Sheaf (Reuben Reid 58), Rohan Ince, Chris Hussey (Jacob Greaves 58), Alex Addai, George Lloyd. Subs not used: Flinders, Brennan, Doyle-Hayes, Smith, Evans-Harriott
Referee: Andy Woolmer
Attendance: 774 (63 away)
Leasing.Com Trophy Southern group E (top 2 qualify for last 32)
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