Price delighted at Welsh call-up

LEWIS Price returned to the land of his grandfather today ecstatic at winning a call up to the full Wales squad.The 20-year-old Bournemouth-born keeper will be one of the few Ipswich players who will get a warm reception from the Cardiff City fans at Ninian Park tonight, after being selected in John Toshack's squad to face Austria home and away at the end of this month in World Cup qualifiers.

By Derek Davis

LEWIS Price returned to the land of his grandfather today ecstatic at winning a call up to the full Wales squad.

The 20-year-old Bournemouth-born keeper will be one of the few Ipswich players who will get a warm reception from the Cardiff City fans at Ninian Park tonight, after being selected in John Toshack's squad to face Austria home and away at the end of this month in World Cup qualifiers.

After a string of impressive Under-21 games, Price has been called into the senior squad and last night told the EADT how much it meant to him - and why he was a little surprised.


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Speaking from the Blues' base in the Welsh capital, Price said: “It was brilliant. To be coming to Cardiff as the squad was announced was a bit strange, but fitting.

“Although it had been suggested that I would get called up, I wasn't sure because I have not been playing much. I thought I would have to have been playing first-team football, perhaps even out on loan, before making the senior squad.

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“But I'm fully fit and sharp, our coach Andy Rhodes makes sure of that. It is intense work, especially at the beginning of the week and, hopefully, I will also get a couple of reserve games under my belt soon.”

Price qualifies through his dad Barrie's parents, who hail from the Rhondda Valley.

With Mark Crossley retiring from international football, Danny Coyne and Paul Jones appear to be battling it out for the No. 1 jersey, although Price is seen very much as the future and may be given his senior debut sooner rather than later.

One person Price won't meet up with is Robbie Savage, who has been dropped by John Toshack and then immediately announced his international retirement.

Price has made 10 Blues' appearances and spent a loan spell at Cambridge United, playing six times.

He has not ruled out another loan spell somewhere but, at the same time, he appreciates he is needed as cover for Kelvin Davis.

He said: “I fully understand the manager's point of view and I'm happy to stay and be on the bench. I would be just as happy if I were to go out on loan to get some more playing experience.”

Royle was delighted for his young goalkeeping understudy and had recommended him to Toshack. He said: “It is fantastic for Lewis and a great opportunity for him to play for his country. With two 30-plus keepers in the squad, it is a chance for him to get a foothold and who knows from there?

“Lewis is a bit unfortunate that he has been behind such a good keeper as Kelvin Davis but whenever he has been called upon he has done an excellent job.”

Price made his debut for Town at Gillingham last season, and returns there again on Saturday, but again fully expecting to be back-up to Davis, who will be No. 1 at Cardiff tonight.

Price was an unused sub in the 6-0 hammering of Forest but, like every Blues follower, thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

He said: “It was the perfect response to what has been happening recently. The lads were unbelievable and it was brilliant to be a part of it.”

Price revealed that the squad was not taking anything for granted at Ninian Park though, and added: “Cardiff have been on a bit of a run themselves, so we know it won't be easy They don't give you anything here but, even so, we still believe we stand a good chance of getting all three points.”

Price's call-up was not the first one, covering for Crossley in Azerbaijan after playing for the Under-21s the night before, although he was not needed in the end.

Former Ipswich Town defender Lee Beevers, who is now at Boston United, has been called into the Wales Under-21 squad.

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