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Wales New Boy Regan Poole Thanks Manchester United For His One Minute Kickstart

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By Gareth James

New Wales cap Regan Poole admits he owes much to Manchester United after making his international debut on Wednesday night.

Defender Poole seemed destined for stardom in 2015 after leaving Newport aged 17, on the same day United made Anthony Martial football’s most expensive teenager.

But Poole’s first-team action at Old Trafford was restricted to an 89th-minute substitute appearance in a 2016 Champions League tie – a 5-1 win over Danish club Midtjylland, in which England striker Marcus Rashford announced himself with two goals on debut.

Poole would be loaned out to Northampton and Newport before signing for MK Dons, Lincoln and Portsmouth, where he has hit the ground running with three goals in 12 appearances for the Sky Bet League One leaders.

“It’s always been my aim to win that cap,” Poole said after helping Wales to a 4-0 friendly win over Gibraltar in Wrexham, ahead of their Euro 2024 qualifier against Croatia.

“I’m 25 and I’ve had to wait a little while to get it, but hopefully there are many more to come.

“I had the experience of playing for the under-21s a few times and got called up there.

“It went quiet for a little while, but I’ve had a really positive start for my new club and hopefully I can stay in the squad.”

Cardiff-born Poole became Newport’s youngest-ever player in 2014 upon making his debut at the age of 16 and 94 days.

Poole’s performances soon had Premier League scouts flocking to Rodney Parade and he eventually headed for Old Trafford for a £100,000 fee, with attached add-ons taking it to a potential £500,000.

“I was at such a young age when the move came about,” said Poole.

It was such a shock, but it was something I had to do. I look back on my time there and they improved me so much as a person and as a player.

“I don’t regret it in a way because I had to do it. I loved my time there and I think it’s showing now how much they improved me.

“I was training with such good players and that’s shown in my career.”

On his brief time as a United first-team player, Poole added: “That’s something I look back on with great pride.

“I know it was only one game but I can say that I played for Manchester United and not many people can say that. So I look back on that and think ‘well done’.

“Marcus scored two in that game and then I came on late. He was a good friend of mine at the time and he’s gone on to do such great things.”

Poole is determined to play at the top level again and believes that is possible at Portsmouth.

He said: “I’m loving it down there. We’ve started so brightly and we’re looking for promotion.

“We’re trying to get the football club back to where it belongs. Why can’t we do it at Portsmouth?

“Ipswich are doing really well (in the Championship after going up from League One last season) and if we can get promoted, why not?

“Portsmouth is a Premier League football club and should never be in League One.

“I believe I can play in the Premier League. If you don’t think that, you’re in the wrong sport.”

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