A charm offensive aimed at luring Perth-born Everton defender Gethin Jones into the Socceroos fold has fallen on deaf ears with the youngster committing his future to Wales.
By
Dave Lewis

8 Jun 2017 - 5:56 AM  UPDATED 8 Jun 2017 - 5:56 AM

The 21 year old Welsh-speaking right-back, who came to the UK as a three year old, declined an invitation to join an Australian development camp under the auspices of Olyroos coach Josep Gombau in March.

And, having been named earlier this week in Chris Coleman's squad for Monday's (AEST) World Cup qualifier against Serbia, he is now all but lost to the green and gold.

Jones was first approached by Socceroos officials over his availability late last year but said at the time he felt "more Welsh than Australian", while not totally shutting the door.

Perth-born defender receives Wales call-up
A prospective future Socceroo appears to have committed his services to Wales after accepting a call-up to their senior national team.

Gombau even enlisted fellow Aussie Callum Elder, who was on loan with Jones at Championship club Barnsley at the back end of last season, to bend his ear over joining the land of his birth.

But the ploy failed to sway him and now the gifted defender, who has captained Wales from Under-16 level through to the Under-21s, has landed his first senior call up for the Dragons.

If he is granted any match minutes against Serbia, as the Welsh seek a vital three points in Belgrade to reignite their faltering qualification campaign for Russia 2018, he will be tied to them for life.

Gombau, who is in camp with the Socceroos for Thursday's World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia in his other role as an assistant to Ange Postecoglou, was recently successful in making sure bolter Ajdin Hrustic was not lost to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

But Jones, whose sole senior Toffees appearance was against Russian side Krasnodar in the Europa League in 2014, proved more resistant to Gombau'sΒ  persuasive powers.

The Spaniard said last month after conferring with Jones: "He has told us that at this moment he is with Wales and he doesn't want to change.

"He plays in a position we need to cover well ... and for us he would have been a good chance (of breaking through).

"But right now he is not thinking in this way.

"He is certainly a very good player.

"We spoke also with Callum Elder because they are good mates to find out his feelings (but without changing his mind)."

Jones spoke of Australia's advances in an interview back in February.

"Australia contacted Everton two or three months back asking for me to play for their Under-23s but I didn't want to to make any decisions then," he said.

"I feel more Welsh than Australian. I've been the Wales captain from the Under-16s to the Under-21s, so if the first team called I'd definitely go for that.

"But it depends now. If Australia came in before Wales you never know, it's something I'd have to seriously think about."

The final decision, it seems, has now been made.

Jones' standing at Everton, whom he joined as a 12 year old, was underscored when he signed a 12-month contract extension late last month.

He was named by Coleman in his 23-man squad for the Serbia trip after impressing in a lead-up training camp in Portugal.

Wales are third in their group at the halfway stage, trailing the top two Serbia and the Republic of Ireland by four points.