With World Cup qualification unattainable and star player Gareth Bale unavailable, Wales’ final Group A fixture appeared at first to be completely bereft of decent headlines.
Wilson, aged 16 years and 207 days, beat Bale’s record as the youngest player to receive a senior cap from the nation – or any of the home nations, in fact.
Not only did he top the Real Madrid superstar by 108 days, but he would spend his maiden minutes as a full-fledged Wales international alongside one of the country’s greats, Craig Bellamy, who was collecting his final cap.
Eighteen years Wilson’s senior, Bellamy is old enough to be the latest Welsh prodigy’s father.
There were, however, slightly cynical undertones to an otherwise-happy evening for player, relatives and supporters alike: Wilson had previously been eligible to turn out for the English national team.
With the FA aggressively targeting promising young non-English talent who earn the right to switch to the Three Lions after tenure at a Premier League academy, their Welsh equivalent took swift action to ensure they did not lose another possible Bale or Aaron Ramsey (who equalised for Wales within moments of Wilson’s debut)
Between an injury crisis and the obvious allure to a 16-year-old to represent the nation he had represented at every youth level, Wales got their man.
The next step for Chris Coleman and his coaching staff, of course, will be to ensure that the exciting yet raw talent is not rushed along and matures into the next big Welsh star.
Harry Wilson was born in Wrexham on March 22, 1997. Back then…
- Michael Owen was the teenage superstar on everyone’s lips at the time
- ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ by the Spice Girls was top of the music charts
- Tony Blair was on the verge of becoming Prime Minister
Wilson is so young, he has still yet to witness…
- Tottenham finish above Arsenal in the league
- Anyone in charge of the Gunners apart from Arsene Wenger
- England reach the semi-finals of a major tournament
- His current club, Liverpool, win the league (maybe he can help fix that…?)