Dou­ble birth­day de­light for cap­tain Joe

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BYDANNYCARO

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.”

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