David Brooks admitted his mum cried tears of joy after learning he had chosen to play for Wales.
The Sheffield United forward, who could win his first senior cap when Chris Coleman’s side face France tonight, represented England at last summer’s Toulon Tournament before being persuaded to switch allegiance.
Brooks qualifies for Wales because his mother was born in Llangollen, Denbighshire, and he was a member of the squad which faced Georgia and the Republic of Ireland in World Cup qualifiers last month.
Speaking ahead of the friendly in Paris, he said: “There were a few tears when I let her know about Wales. She was obviously pretty pleased about it. The whole family, Welsh and English, came down to support me in Cardiff and it was great to have them there.
“There are some great players in the Wales set-up. Some players at the very, very highest level of the game. You’ve got to keep on improving and learning.”
If Brooks fails to appear at the Stade de France, he is almost certain to feature when Panama visit the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday. Coleman fast-tracked the 20-year-old, who recently signed a new long term contract with United, after he scored on his under-21 debut against Switzerland earlier this term.
Brooks’ chances of facing the 1998 World Cup winners have been enhanced by the withdrawal of Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale, West Bromwich Albion’s Hal Robson-Kanu and Emyr Huws of Ipswich Town through injury. Coleman has confirmed he will select “different teams” in Paris and Cardiff.
Admitting former United defender Robert Page, who coaches their under-age teams, had been instrumental in his decision to choose Wales over England, Brooks said: “I went for a meeting with Chris Coleman when I first went down. Pagey said when I was called-up that he was pushing me. I don’t know how much that helped but I’ll always be thankful to him for doing that. Now it’s up to me to try and show everybody what I can do and that I can help the team.”