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WALES WATCH: LEAPING LAWRENCE GIVES RYAN GIGGS SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT FOR WALES

Who could possibly emulate Sam Vokes’ bullet header against Belgium at Euro 2016? Step forward, Tom Lawrence.

Frank Lampard’s first game as Derby County manager was heading for a 1-1 draw in the opening game of the Championship campaign, before Lawrence’s stunning headed effort guided the Rams to victory.

Reading took the lead through Jon Dadi Bodvarsson early in the second-half – but Mason Mount responded for the Rams eight minutes later.

Mount ventured forward again deep into additional time and found the head of Lawrence, who dispatched the ball beyond Vito Mannone to secure all three points for Lampard’s men.

The Manchester United academy product netted six goals for the Rams last term, and helped them achieve a sixth-place finish – before they suffered heartbreak against Fulham in the play-offs.

Lawrence was selected for the friendly against Mexico by Ryan Giggs – who he co-incidentally replaced to make his United debut during Giggs’ time as interim player-manager.

Another big season awaits the Welshman, who got off to a dream start on Friday evening.

Magnificent Mepham

The Championship table makes for good reading if you are a Brentford fan, or, of course, Chris Mepham.

The defender played 90 minutes as Brentford’s season got off to a flyer after they hit newly-promoted Rotherham United for five on Saturday.

On an afternoon which was fairly quiet for Mepham and his fellow defenders, they thought they had done just enough to keep their first clean sheet – before Will Vaulks netted late on for the Millers.

After featuring only once for the Bees during the 2016-17 campaign, last season was the real breakthrough for the defender. He made 23 appearances for the Championship club and found the back of the net against Sheffield United in March.

Mepham cemented himself as a key figure in the heart of the Bees’ defence, and received his first international call-up for the China Cup earlier this year. He made his debut during the 6-0 victory over the hosts in Nanning, replacing Ben Davies as a second-half substitute.

He has also represented Wales under-20s, as well as captaining the under-21 side during a European Under-21 Championship qualifier against Romania in 2017.

It has been a remarkable 12 months for the talented youngster to say the very least.

But according to the Daily Mail, the 20-year-old is attracting interest from the Premier League with Bournemouth and Leicester City both reportedly keen on landing the youngster.

Brentford will be looking to better their ninth-place finish last season, and it looks as though Mepham will be a key part of their plans this term.

Wondrous Woodburn

Woodburn’s loan spell at Bramall Lane didn’t get off to the greatest start after Sheffield United fell to defeat against Swansea City.

George Baldock gave the hosts the lead in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Saturday evening, before Oli McBurnie and Yan Dhanda both struck for Graham Potter’s side.

Woodburn was named on the bench by United boss Chris Wilder, but replaced David McGoldrick late in the second-half.

The 20-year-old will need time to adapt in the Championship after finding first team football hard to come by under Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

After joining the Blades last week, Woodburn told the club’s official website that he took advice from fellow Welshman Lee Evans and could be the ‘new David Brooks’.

“I’m looking forward to coming out on-loan to play games and it’s an exciting time. This is a great club, I’ve spoken to Lee Evans and he loves the place, so it seems the right move for me.

“David Brooks is a good friend of mine and he loved it here too, he’s moved on now, maybe I’m the new David Brooks?”

But the loan move will certainly benefit the youngster, who will be hoping to emulate fellow Welshman Harry Wilson’s form at Hull City last season.

As we are on the topic of Ben Woodburn, it would be rude not to watch this moment again.

That completes our first Wales Watch of the season – here’s hoping the Welsh youngsters will shine for their clubs this season as Giggs gears up for the UEFA Nations League.

Callum Ellis is the social media editor for Inside Wales Sport and is usually found at a variety of football matches around the country. He loves it so much he’s studying Sports Journalism at the University of South Wales.

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