Double birthday delight for captain Joe
Wales Under 21 captain Joe Jacobson celebrated his 21st birthday in style after winning the captain’s armband and leading the Dragons to a pair of European Championship qualifying victories in the space of five days.
The Bristol Rovers left-back turned 21 last Saturday when he set up a goal in the 4-0 success against Bosnia Herzegovena in Wrexham.
He earned his 11th cap in the 4-2 success over a highly-fancied France team featuring Premiership stars Younes Kaboul and Charles N’Zogbia in Cardiff in a match televised on Sky Sports on Tuesday night.
“It has been a wonderful few days,” said Jacobson. “The Bosnia win was a great result and performance. It gave us a lot of confidence going into the France match which was a tough game but one we deservedly came through. Knowing they are one of the best teams in Europe made it even more satisfying.”
Having moved from Cardiff City to Bristol Rovers last summer, Tuesday was an emotional homecoming for the Cardiff-born youngster.
“It was the first time I had been back to Ninian Park,” said Jacobson. “Being appointed captain of the national Under 21 team is a great honour. I love playing for my country and am delighted manager Brian Flynn has shown faith in me. It is very encouraging.”
Wales took the lead on half time but fell behind after Les Bleus scored two goals in quick succession in the second half. Led by Jacobson, Wales rallied with the skipper setting up the third goal from a free-kick. “We showed a lot of character to come from behind. The senior team have not done too well of late so hopefully our results can give everyone in the country a big boost.”
In his last qualifying campaign as an Under 21, Jacobson knows he has a tough task ahead, trying to break into Josh Toshack’s senior squad. He will be vying for a slot currently filled by Spurs’ Gareth Bale, and said it “would be a challenge to get in ahead of him”.
Reflecting on his season so far, Jacobson, who has scored one goal in League One, commented: “I left Cardiff to get regular first team football and I am doing that.”