Gareth Bale: I helped Ben Woodburn choose Wales over England

Gareth Bale has revealed he helped persuade teenage sensation Ben Woodburn commit to Wales and reject England's overtures.

Liverpool striker Woodburn announced himself on the international stage on Saturday with a dramatic World Cup winner against Austria -- just 261 seconds after coming on as a 69th-minute substitute.

But Woodburn -- who turns 18 next month on Oct. 15 -- could have played for England as he had dual nationality being born in Nottingham and brought up in Cheshire.

The Football Association also made two enquiries to get Woodburn on board, even though he has been part of the Wales set-up since the age of 13 as he qualified through a maternal grandfather.

England manager Gareth Southgate responded to Woodburn's incredible debut by saying it was "increasingly difficult" to monitor every young player and that some countries were able to fast-track youngsters quicker.

But Bale, speaking ahead of Wales' crucial World Cup qualifier away to Moldova on Tuesday night, admitted he had played a part in Woodburn pledging his allegiance to the Dragons.

Bale said: "I remember meeting him in one game, I think it was against Holland [in November 2015].

"He was injured and he was sat in the box next to me as he's with my agency Stellar.

"I had a little chat with him then, getting [him] on board because obviously we knew he was a great player.

"We're delighted to have him - and he Welsh anyway, he's ours."

Woodburn's winner against Austria revived Wales' World Cup qualification hopes, cutting the gap to the Republic in second place to two points and four to Group D leaders Serbia.

But Bale promised that Woodburn would remain grounded, despite becoming a national hero overnight.

"We haven't had to have a word with him," said Bale, who also rejected an approach to join the England set-up.

"He's a good lad and doesn't need to be looked after in that respect.

"He knows it was a great goal and knows what he did was amazing for us all.

"He's just got his head down, he's a quiet lad and got on with it.

"I know he won't get too carried away. And I'm sure if he does we'll all let him know! He's been great since he came in."

Bale said he was delighted that the next generation of Welsh players were emerging with Woodburn joined by the likes of Ethan Ampadu, Lee Evans and Tom Lockyer in the current squad.

"It does make me feel old -- I'm 11 years older than him," Bale said.

"Mentally I think we all still feel 17 -- me, Joe [Allen], Wayne [Hennessey], Rambo [Aaron Ramsey], all of us.

"We're still young in our minds, maybe not so much in our bodies. But we have had a laugh with Ben and made him feel welcome. It's been good fun.

"When we came in it was start of transition period when John Toshack was bringing through lot of younger players to build for the future.

"But Ben, Ethan and the others are coming in to a steady squad that's done well and with characters to really help him as well.

"It's a good recipe that hopefully can help us."

Neil Taylor is set to return for Wales following his horror tackle on Seamus Coleman, with James Chester saying his teammate was "deeply affected" by what happened.

Taylor received a two-match ban for his Dublin challenge on Coleman in March which left the Republic of Ireland captain with a double leg fracture.

The Wales defender has not spoken publicly about the incident, which happened during a World Cup qualifier at the Aviva Stadium which finished goalless.

But Chester -- who plays alongside Taylor at Aston Villa as well as for Wales -- has spoken of the 28-year-old's anguish at injuring Coleman.

"He was obviously very disappointed with what happened and playing with him at club level I know he was deeply affected by it," Chester said.

"It was something he didn't mean to do and as footballers there's almost an acceptance we will get injuries in our career.

"The game moves on and it's nice to see that Seamus is back and close to fitness now.

"Neil has moved on with his career and he seems back to normal now."

UEFA handed Taylor a two-match ban for the red card tackle and he subsequently missed Wales' World Cup games with Serbia and Austria.

But Taylor is available for Tuesday's qualifier away to Moldova and is expected to start in his customary left wing-back position.

"I don't think there's any getting away from the the fact it wasn't a great challenge," Chester said.

"But I think the fact it was Wales against Ireland and Seamus playing in the Premier League, the detail on Neil was a lot more than if the incident had happened against, say, Austria or Moldova.

"Neil would never wish that injury on anyone and he was more worried about the impact on Seamus than what anyone was saying about him.

"He's obviously been through something similar in his own career, so anything labelled at him that it was intentional would have been incorrect.

"Neil knew Seamus would have had to have been through the same thing as him."