Josh Sheehan admits he thought it was a joke when he was told about Wales call-up… before welling up when he realised it was true

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Lewis Sharpe November 6, 2020
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  • Josh Sheehan admits he thought it was a joke when he was told about Wales call-up… before welling up when he realised it was true

Author: Lewis Sharpe

Publisher: Y Clwb Pel-Droed

Josh Sheehan is thrilled at the opportunity of linking up with old teammates and possibly making his senior international debut.

Yesterday, Wales included Newport County playmaker Josh Sheehan in their squad for the upcoming triple-header this month.

Prior to the Exiles’ trip away to Leyton Orient in the FA Cup, Sheehan expressed his excitement for the international break.

‘’I heard through the gaffer [Mike Flynn]; I think it was this time last week that there’s a chance I was going to get called up, ‘’ explained Josh

‘’Then he said, yes, I am and then it was just a matter of waiting to find out like officially, actually see it on social media and it felt more real then.

‘’At first, I thought there’s a chance he was winding me up but then someone from the FAW got in touch, so I knew then. It’s a good joke if he’s carrying that on.’’

‘’The only people I told was my parents and my partner and they had to keep it quiet.

‘’They obviously wanted to tell the world but they had to keep it quiet until it went on social media.

‘’I’m buzzing to be fair. That’s what you aim for as a kid; to play for your country.’’

The 25-year-old has experienced his fair share of knock backs, with injuries hampering some of his early years in the first-team.

‘’When you have the long injuries like when I done my knee – out for a year almost – it’s tough.

‘’But, I’ve always believed in myself and if you speak to anyone that’s close to me, I’ve always believed in my ability and knew, when I’m playing regularly, that it will shine through eventually.

‘’It’s never too late, is it?’’

Sheehan left Swansea permanently in 2018, having had loan spells at Yeovil Town as well as at his new home, Rodney Parade.

‘’When you leave a top club, they were in the Premier League at the time as well, you think maybe it’s the end but, when you go out on loan at such a young age, you realise it’s not all about your parent-club.

‘’There’s more out there than just that club.

‘’I went on loan to Yeovil and then I’ve come here, played my best football here and it was nice for me then, once I left Swansea, that Newport were willing to take me and hopefully I can repay them.

Sheehan has flourished under manager Mike Flynn as he continues to improve season upon season.

‘’It’s just getting the confidence from the gaffer and all the coaching staff.

‘’It makes a big difference to a player when you have full backing behind you and you can make a mistake and it’s not going to get highlighted so much.

‘’Once you’re confident, you play a different game.

‘’I feel like, at Newport, towards the end of two seasons ago, it just clicked.

‘’You enjoy it more and it started to go on from there.’’

Wales manager Ryan Giggs was in the stands in Newport’s penalty defeat to Newcastle United in the league cup earlier this season.

‘’I’d heard that he was coming but it didn’t add any extra pressure really – we were the underdogs anyway,’’ explained Sheehan.

The Pembrey-born midfielder is already familiar with the majority of the squad.

‘’I’ve played with most of them to be fair – all the Swansea boys that have come through, Connor [Roberts], Joe [Rodon], DJ [Daniel James].

‘’Through Wales I’ve played with Tom Lockyer, Harry Wilson and even, at Yeovil, I’ve played with Kieffer Moore, So, there’s a lot of players I’ve played with already in the squad.

‘’I’m there to do my job and play so no, I won’t be starstruck at all.

‘’When I was a youngster, about 19, I trained up with the Wales first team then. That was a good five years ago so I’ve been in that environment before.

Sheehan also hopes that playing with top-quality international players can help him improve further.

‘’Every technical player will always benefit from playing with better players because you probably get more options on the ball with more movement and people want to get on the ball as well so they don’t mind having it under pressure.

‘’It helps you as a player.’’

With Wales playing a friendly against USA at the Liberty Stadium next week, Sheehan will hope he can make his debut at his boyhood club.

‘’That’d be ideal really. It’s just a shame my family wouldn’t be there.

‘’Maybe it’s just written to do that. I don’t mind where it is really; it could be anywhere but to play for Wales is an honour.

‘’From when I was a little boy, growing up and seeing boys I know in the team – every time they’re on you dream of yourself being in that position, playing and showing what you can do in a Welsh shirt. It’s always been a dream of mine.’’

Wales will be without manager Ryan Giggs for the fixture, with assistant Robert Page taking charge.

‘’I think I might have come across him [Robert Page] but not properly. I’ve not really had a proper chat with him.

“I think I played against him when he was the manager at Port Vale, I might have been at Yeovil.’’

Sheehan also hopes he can play as high of a standard as possible in the future.

‘’Every player who plays football, their ambition is to play as high as possible.

‘’I want to play as high as possible and show what I can do because your career is so short.’’

Sheehan has also caught up with some old teammates prior to the international break

‘’I’ve had a couple of texts off a couple of the boys like DJ and Connor, a couple of them saying congrats and see you next week. I spoke to them and I’m looking forward to seeing them.”

(Featured image: Lewis Sharpe)