A GRANDAD who bet that his two-year-old grandson would one day play for Wales has collected £125,000 after the family dream came true.
Wrexham-born teenager Harry Wilson became Wales’ youngest ever international footballer on Tuesday night when he came off the bench for his debut in the 87th minute of Chris Coleman’s side’s 1-1 draw in Belgium.
His proud parents, who travelled to Belgium for the World Cup qualifier, said the ‘emotional’ moment was ‘wonderful’.
But it will be Harry’s grandad Peter Edwards, 62, who will be wearing the biggest grin after his audacious wager – placed when Harry was barely out of nappies – came good.
Yesterday bookmakers William Hill confirmed they had paid out on the bet and Mr Edwards told BBC Wales he had pocketed £125,000.
Yesterday Harry’s father, Mark, said: “Harry’s grandfather put a bet on that Harry would play for his country when he was only 18-months-old.
“He’s cleaned up, there’s no doubt there.”
At 16 years and 207 days old, Harry, from Corwen, became Wales’ youngest ever international footballer, beating the record held by the world’s most expensive player, Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale, by more than 100 days.
Mark added: “We went out to Belgium, we couldn’t risk not being there when he made his debut. It was a wonderful feeling when he came on, myself and Harry’s mum Nicola felt very proud and quite emotional.”
Former teachers also spoke of their “amazement and pride” in watching him pull on the famous jersey.
Harry attended Ysgol Dinas Bran, Llangollen, before signing for Liverpool FC’s academy.
Harry’s former teachers at Ysgol Dinas Bran had taken a coach full of pupils and staff down to the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday in the hope of seeing the midfielder make his debut against Macedonia.
But that night Harry remained on the bench so attention turned to Tuesday night’s match in Brussels.
Helen Davies, head of PE at Ysgol Dinas Bran, said: “We are chuffed to bits that Harry got on against Belgium.
“It is great news for the school and there is a real buzz about the place today as Harry was such a popular lad.
“It is awesome to see a local lad do so well and get recognised by his country.
“We all went down to the game on Friday hoping he’d get on but we only got to see him warm-up, so it was great to see him come on in Belgium.”
Neil Garvey, Harry’s football teacher at Dinas Bran, said: “I’m amazingly proud of what Harry has achieved. I can’t say I’m surprised as we saw he had real talent when he came to us in year seven.
“The other kids are really thriving off it and those who made the trip to Cardiff were constantly singing ‘there’s only one Harry Wilson’ which I think he appreciated.”
l Speaking to the Leader, Harry said it was a “great experience” to be on the pitch “in and around quality players, quality professionals in a big atmosphere”.
And he said he had no intention of swapping his treasured Wales jersey at the final whistle.