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James Crawley

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Posted Tuesday, September 10th 2019

Morrell reflects on his Wales debut

It has taken a lot of hard graft and determination but on Monday night, Joe Morrell got his reward with a place in the Wales starting XI.

The BCFC Academy graduate made his full debut in a 1-0 friendly win over Belarus, days after his spot on the bench in Wales’ 2-1 UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Azerbaijan.

There’s no doubting it has been a proud week for the central midfielder, who was able to celebrate last night’s win in front of his family.

“It is something I have worked hard for,” Morrell told the club website.

“To get to that stage last night I just had to enjoy it, it was more about the process of getting there and that has been tough. Of course, it was a proud moment for my friends and family, especially my mum’s side because they are Welsh.

“A lot of them were there and it was a great achievement for me. A lot of people have stuck by me to get me there and it was a proud moment for everyone.”

Twenty two year-old Morrell found out he was in the starting line-up less than seven hours before kick-off and admitted he was able to hold back any nerves.

“I think it helped not to think about it too much because otherwise you can get carried away,” he said. “I told my family and they were excited, nervous but I think they enjoyed it!”

And he received much deserved, positive feedback from his manager Ryan Giggs, having put in a busy, tidy and solid shift for Wales, even starting the counter attack which led to the decisive goal from Dan James.

Recalling the moment, Morrell said: “I won the ball back and got it to Jonny Williams but I’m not as quick so I couldn’t keep up with the front players in that attack! It was nice to be involved and I’m glad it helped get the goal from Dan.

“The manager was happy, I think happy that I stuck to the gameplan and what he wanted from me. He was happy I approached it as any other game and I felt that was the best way to do it because it meant I wouldn’t get too nervous in the approach leading to the game.”

Morrell now returns to continue his club football with Lincoln City, where he is on loan for the season. He has already made eight appearances in all competitions under former manager Danny Cowley – who this week joined Huddersfield Town with brother Nicky - and Morrell is hoping to kick on following his latest international experience.

He said: “When you look at the players around in the Wales squad, I’m playing in League One which is the lowest level of anyone so to be involved with them was a surprise initially but everyone was very welcoming. I know a lot of the lads from youth levels anyway and it has been a really good experience.

“At Lincoln, the managers have been good with me and it’s disappointing to see them go but I got on really well with them and it’s a great opportunity for them. I have loved it at Lincoln; it’s been fantastic for me, both the city and the club and I’m excited for what the rest of the season will bring.”