A YOUNG footballer from a Wrexham village has been celebrating after being handed his first Wales under-16s cap.
Fifteen-year-old Ryan Harrington picked up the captain’s armband from Birmingham City centre-half Jack Challis during Wales under-16s Victory Shield match against England in October.
He went on to captain the side against Scotland and Northern Ireland in the home nations tournament.
He has now been handed his Welsh cap by Wales senior coach Chris Coleman, at a ceremony in Newport, South Wales. Ryan has also played for Wales under-17s.
The teenager signed for Everton FC as an 11-year-old, having previously played for Garden Village and Wrexham since the age of six.
Ryan, who lives on Sandringham Road, Garden Village, is a former pupil of Wat’s Dyke Primary School and Ysgol Rhosnesni.
He later moved to Wade Deacon Secondary School in Widnes to tie in with his commitments at E verton.
Father David, who used to play for Lex FC, and mother Jane said it was ‘terrific moment’ to see Ryan presented with his cap by the Welsh manager.
“We were both really proud of him,” said Mr Harrington.
“It was a terrific moment for us as a family and he’s done really well for Wales, and gained nine caps this season for the under-16s.
“We’re hopeful he can make a go of it. He’s incredibly committed and driven to succeed.”
Mr Harrington said his son clearly had a gift for football at an early age, and it was a proud moment when he pulled on the armband in the Victory Shield.
“When he first played for Garden Village you could spot he had a natural talent for it,” he said. “His experience at Wrexham’s academy was great and a lot of credit should go to Andy Davies, the head of the academy, who brought Ryan on a great deal.”
After the Welsh captain was injured against England, Ryan was able to take on the mantle.
“It was fantastic seeing him lead the team out and it’s been good to see the team doing so well,” added Mr Harrington.