Luca Hoole gives on-looking Wales coach food for thought with solid Bristol Rovers display
Luca Hoole wasn't fazed b the watching eyes of Wales under-21 boss Paul Bodin as he kept a clean sheet for Bristol Rovers
Hoole put in a standout defensive performance just one day removed from signing a two-year deal with the Gas after making a breakthrough season.
The 19-year-old may now have attracted the attention of the coach of his national team which would open up an opportunity to play on the international stage, marking a fantastic few months for the defender.
Paul, the father of Billy Bodin, who played for Rovers more than 100 times, was at the Memorial Stadium to oversee a number of Welsh-qualified players.
In the Gas ranks, there were three players of note to him with starter Hoole eligible, whilst unused substitutes Sion Spence and Pablo Martinez also qualify for the Red Dragons.
Spence has been a regular fixture for Bodin’s under-21’s side but he missed the last international period to prioritise his club career and was rewarded when he scored a winner against Oxford United in the Emirates FA Cup.
Martinez meanwhile has played for Wales at under-17’s and under-19’s level though he hasn’t played regularly enough this season to be considered for a call-up.
For Mansfield, he may have been wanting to get a closer look of Ryan Stirk, who came off the bench in stoppage time. He’s played six times already under Bodin so he’ll have already known a lot about him.
Hoole though is the player that may rank highest in the thoughts of Bodin right now given the assured performance he bared witness to.
Continuing in his role at right-back in what was his 12th league outing of the season, Hoole coped well with the threat of Mansfield who boasted vastly experienced forwards such as Jamie Murphy and Jordan Bowery.
Backing up his performance with statistics, he was successful seven times out of nine in the aerial and ground duels he competed for, highlighting his personal effort to contribute to his third clean sheet of the season.
He isn’t a complete stranger to the Welsh setup as back in November 2019, he made a brief cameo for Wales’ Under-19’s in the UEFA U19 Championship. The Newport-born youngster replaced Neco Williams who has since gone on to play for Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League.
If Hoole’s international career does lift off then it could have implications for Bristol Rovers, who could lose one of their players to national team duty.
Wales’ under-21’s have fixtures against Switzerland and Bulgaria towards the end of March which clash with Bristol Rovers’ end-of-season run-in.
The Gas are due to play away at Carlisle United on March 26, which would clash with Wales’ away fixture with Switzerland, the day before.