Ryan Giggs’ decision to include James Lawrence in the Wales squad ahead of Friday’s UEFA Nations League clash against Denmark raised a few eyebrows amongst supporters.
Lawrence says he has received a warm reception from his team-mates as he goes in search of making his first appearance for the Dragons.
The 26-year-old’s visit to Wales is his first ever – and one he is enjoying. So no wonder his club Anderlecht made assumptions when he signed:
✍️ Welkom James Alexander Lawrence! 👉 https://t.co/gqES0cSW6R
✍️ Bienvenue James Alexander Lawrence! 👉 https://t.co/AhMwzMo5rM
— RSC Anderlecht (@rscanderlecht) August 29, 2018
“I can’t say it’s too different from everywhere else that I’ve been,” said Lawrence.
“I’ve been to a lot of countries and had to adjust to new things so this is another step for me. It’s been really good so far with the training camp and meeting up with all the players.”
— Wales 🏴 (@Cymru) November 14, 2018
The Anderlecht defender acknowledges he may not have been known to the Red Wall prior to his first call-up, and says his inclusion in the squad is down to his father.
“I think it was down to communication. My dad got in touch with the Football Association of Wales and he said, ‘he’s eligible to play for Wales so why don’t you have a look at him?’
“I think playing for a high-profile club like Anderlecht, that obviously helped playing regular football there and with the scouting. They came and watched me this season and some games last season.
“That’s how it came about and they decided I was someone worth calling up.”
Lawrence qualifies to play for Wales through his Pembrokeshire-born grandmother Jill Irwin who will visit the capital for the crunch clash against Christian Eriksen and co.
“I think she was born in Haverfordwest and her family goes back generations there.
“She’s coming up to Cardiff on Friday to see the game, to see me again. I think she’s looking forward to coming back for sure.
“I’ll have to have a word with her about a future trip.”
Laurence Mora from @eatsleep_footy interviewed Wales new boy James Lawrence today who said he's been learning the National anthem in his car, he added that he thinks its a wonderful anthem. pic.twitter.com/0OzhHE4TEJ
— Welsh Football News 🏴 (@RedWallNews) November 13, 2018
Questions have also been raised as to where he will fit into Giggs’ plans, but the Belgium-based defender revealed where his preferred position would be.
“I’ve been playing as a left centre-back for my club and for the past few years as well,” he added.
“If he needs me there, I’ll be there.
“I can also play as a number six [central defensive midfielder] as well. I played there for my club in the European qualifiers. I’m comfortable in that position.”
Find out when Wales take on Denmark at the Cardiff City Stadium. If you can’t make it, follow the live blog on EatSleepFootyRepeat.
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