Carrie Jones features in Wales’ squad for their Euro 2021 qualifier against the Faroe Islands this evening, aged just 15.
In a bizarre turn of events, Jones is unable to play for her club, Cardiff, in the FA Women’s National League until she turns 16. The rules for playing for her country, however, mean she can feature aged 15.
Jones was first called up to train with the senior squad at the Wales training camp when she was 14 and still ineligible to play in international matches.
Now eligible and with injuries to fellow midfield players Jess Fishlock and Rachel Rowe, there is a real chance Jones may feature in Wales’ first Euro Qualifier tonight.
“I am nervous, I have been on a few camps before, but I haven’t been 15, so I haven’t been an age that I could play, but now I am.
“Last year, I went to Serbia, and we qualified for the elite rounds with the Under-17s, and then we went to Austria. So the focus has been on that, but I knew this was coming up, and dream big, you know? I worked hard to get it, and now I’ve got here.”
“It feels different now, I have just signed for Cardiff for this season, but I can’t play for them until my 16th birthday. So I am called up for the international team at a time where I can play for them but not for a club,” Jones said.
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Undoubtedly, Jones has been learning a lot and gaining invaluable experience while training with senior members of the Wales squad who have played for some of the biggest teams in the world.
“I am currently in the performance squad so some players from the senior squad like Nadia Lawrence and Kylie Nolan I have been training with weekly, which is good.
“And on camps, it is great to see what you can learn from the experienced players to become a better player yourself,” she added.
It seems there is a real opportunity for Jones in this 22-man Welsh squad. Wales’ coach Jayne Ludlow has said the youngster has a genuine chance of playing in her first senior international.
“I see her challenging for a place if she wasn’t going to do that she wouldn’t be selected.
“The reality of the youngster we’re talking about is that she’s performing very well in the domestic programme and we have high hopes for her in the future. It’s very early days in her senior career, club and country, and it’s a learning process,” Ludlow said.
Jones could have a seriously impressive summer holiday story when she heads back to Newtown High School in September, definitely beats Blackpool illuminations.