The players who were born to play for Wales

7 months ago 105
Owen BeckOwen Beck, a relative of Ian Rush, signed a long-term contract with Liverpool in 2021
Venue: Stok Racecourse, Wrexham Date: Wednesday, 11 October Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds, BBC Sport website and app, plus live text
Highlights: Match of the Day Wales, BBC One Wales from 23:10 BST and later on demand

With Charlie Savage and Owen Beck earning a first call-up to Wales' senior side and set to make their debuts against Gibraltar, Robert Page could now pick an entire team of second-generation footballers.

From one of their most established stars to players yet to make their senior debut, BBC Sport Wales has compiled a Wales XI whose family members either played for Wales, or played professionally.

This might bring back some memories (and make you feel old).

Terry HennesseyTerry Hennessey embarked on a managerial career in the USA and Australia before settling in Melbourne.

Goalkeeper - Wayne Hennessey

No doubt you have heard of Wayne Hennessey, a man with over 100 caps for Wales and who still has a decent claim to be the country's number one goalkeeper at the age of 36.

However, you might not know that Hennessey is a cousin of Terry Hennessey, a wing-half who played 39 times for Wales between 1962 and 1972, representing Birmingham City, Nottingham Forest and Derby County.

Gavin WilliamsGavin Williams (right) most recently spent five years as manager of Merthyr Town

Right-back - Jay Williams

Fulham Under-21s defender Jay Williams, 20, has already represented Wales across various youth levels, following in the footsteps of his father Gavin, who played twice for Wales in 2005 under John Toshack.

Williams made his name at Yeovil Town and earned transfers to West Ham, Ipswich and Bristol City, playing regularly in the Championship for several seasons.

Ian RushIan Rush is Liverpool's all-time leading goalscorer with 346 goals in 660 appearances

Left-back - Owen Beck

Liverpool defender Owen Beck, 21, currently on loan at Dundee, perhaps has the relative who casts the largest shadow as he looks to make his mark as a professional footballer.

Beck is the great-nephew of Liverpool legend Ian Rush, whose sister Carole is Beck's grandmother.

"As soon as I started playing football he's given me advice and I speak to him a lot," left-back Beck said of his relationship with Rush. "He's done it himself and he knows what to say. It's definitely helped me on my journey."

Kwame AmpaduKwame Ampadu is now a football coach and currently works for Columbus Crew after stints with Arsenal and Monaco

Centre-back - Ethan Ampadu

Only 23 years old and already closing in on 50 Wales caps, Leeds United midfielder or defender Ethan Ampadu is another player whose father played the game professionally.

Ireland youth international Kwarme Ampadu was a professional between 1988 and 2005, starting his career at Arsenal before stints with West Bromwich Albion, Swansea City, Leyton Orient, Exeter City and Newport County.

Josh LowJosh Low played four times for Wales Under-21s, but did not emulate son Joe in being named in a senior squad

Centre-back - Joe Low

If you were a regular watcher of the Football League between 1995 and 2012, chances are you will have seen winger Josh Low play, with the versatile player probably best remembered for spells with Cardiff City, Northampton Town and Cheltenham Town.

Following in his footsteps is Wycombe defender Joe, 21, who was called up to the Wales senior squad for the Euro 2024 qualifying matches against Armenia and Turkey in June and could make his debut this week after replacing the injured Ben Cabango.

Robbie SavageRobbie Savage is a former international team-mate of Wales boss Robert Page

Midfield - Charlie Savage

When it comes to relatives who are well known in the game, Charlie Savage, 20, has some big boots to fill with his father Robbie being a former Premier League midfielder for the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham and Leicester City and one of the most outspoken pundits in the game on BBC Radio 5 Live's 606.

However, watching the stylish Reading midfielder brings out Robbie's softer side, as the viewing public saw when Robbie watched Charlie make his debut for his former club Manchester United.

David CotterillDavid Cotterill was a member of the Wales 2016 Euros squad, who reached the semi-finals

Midfield - Joel Cotterill

Wales Under-21s midfielder Joel Cotterill, 18, who is impressing on loan at Stockport County from parent club Swansea , is another player with a bright future, having been named Swansea's academy player of the season last year and making his senior debut.

Cotterill is following in the footsteps of his cousin David Cotterill, who played 24 times for Wales during a 14-year professional career with the likes of Wigan Athletic, who signed him for £2m, Sheffield United, Swansea and Birmingham.

Tony JamesTony James helped three clubs achieve promotion to the Football League

Midfield - Jordan James

Wales and Birmingham midfielder Jordan James, 19, has already played at a higher level than his father Tony, but there is no mistaking James Sr is a genuine legend of three lower league clubs.

James helped both Hereford and Burton Albion to win promotion from the Conference - playing over 400 combined games for the two sides - before captaining the Newport side that achieved a return to the Football League in 2012.

Kevin CooperKevin Cooper joined Cardiff from Wolves, who paid Wimbledon £1m for his services

Attacking midfield - Oli Cooper

Swansea midfielder Oli Cooper has already represented his country at the age of 23, but he will do well to match the longevity of his father Kevin, was who a professional footballer for from 1995-2008.

Cooper represented the likes of Stockport, Wimbledon, Wolves and Cardiff in a nomadic career with 13 different clubs.

Paul (left) and Billy (right) BodinPaul Bodin (left, with son Billy) was Wales Under-21s boss from 2019 to 2022

Attacking midfield - Billy Bodin

Oxford United midfielder Billy Bodin, 31, might feel he's unlikely to add to the one Wales cap he won in 2018, but he's certainly emulated father Paul Bodin in enjoying a solid Football League career.

Paul, who made 23 Wales appearances and was Wales Under-21s boss, is best known for a long stint at Swindon Town after moving from Cardiff to Newport, while Billy has played for the likes of Bristol Rovers and Preston North End.

David Johnson (centre) celebrating scoring for Forest in the play-offsDavid Johnson (centre) considered international call-ups from Wales and Scotland before representing Jamaica

Striker - Brennan Johnson

The only £50m player in this team, Spurs and Wales forward Brennan Johnson is the son of David, a former striker with the likes of Ipswich Town and Nottingham Forest who played professionally for close to 20 years, having come through the academy at Manchester United.

Forest paid around £3.5m for Johnson in 2001, two years after he made four appearances for Jamaica, the country of his birth.

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