Former Burnley midfielder Joey Barton has made a slightly bold claim regarding Wales' latest hero Ben Woodburn - stating that at his current age, the Liverpool midfielder is showing more potential than Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale did.
Woodburn burst into the limelight with a brilliant goal that gave Wales a 1-0 victory over Austria on Saturday night, and Barton was full of praise for the 17-year-old.
“His touch for the goal is phenomenal and the ability to strike it. But at 17, I remember Bale at Southampton and you have to say he [Woodburn] is at a higher level isn’t he now,” He told listeners on TalkSport radio station (as tweeted by Sports Breakfast host Alan Brazil on Monday morning).
“I’m not saying he is going to be Bale’s [level]; there is a long, long way to go but I think England have got to be gutted they missed out on him.”
His heroics have sent Welsh fans into mass hysteria surrounding the youngster that has only ever featured for his club's first team on nine occasions.
Eerily, his goal arrived within seconds of the home crowd finishing up their rendition of the Welsh national anthem, 'Hen Wlad fy Nhadau' (Land of My Fathers), to make the goal that bit more special.
Woodburn is yet to play this season for Liverpool, but with performances like that which he showed on Saturday will go down very well with his manager Jurgen Klopp; and despite the Reds already having such a strong midfield and attack, the youngster may well find himself in the squad in the very near future.