'Shock' Wales Call Caps 'Great Season' For Broadhead

Nathan Broadhead admits being called up for a senior Wales training camp in Portugal this week came as "a shock" - but says his inclusion is "a great way to end a great season".

Broadhead has been named in Ryan Giggs' 26-man party for the trip to the Algarve after catching the eye for Everton Under-23s this term, playing a key role as David Unsworth's side claimed a league and cup double. 

The 21-year-old collected the young Blues' Player of the Season prize earlier this month after being chosen for the award by Unsworth and his coaching staff, and has now seen his performances rewarded with a first inclusion at senior international level. 

The group, which also features Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, Bournemouth midfielder David Brooks and Swansea City's Dan James, will be put through their paces in Portugal until May 28, before Giggs names his squad for next month's Euro 2020 qualifiers against Croatia and Hungary the following day. 

Despite training with Giggs at a smaller national team meet-up last week, Broadhead, who has four caps at Under-21 level, said it still came as a surprise to receive the nod - so much so he has had to postpone a planned holiday to Tenerife with his girlfriend. 

"It's a great way to end a great season for me," the Academy product told evertonfc.com. "It came as a bit of a shock to be fair but I just can't wait to get going. 

"I'm flying out [on Wednesday] and flying with one of the best players in the world in Gareth Bale and I just can't wait to experience all of it. 

"We fly back on the 28th and I had a holiday booked for that day so I've had to cancel that - but I was happy to! 

"I'm looking forward to seeing what the standard is like at that level. Most of the players play Championship or Premier League so I can work hard and learn from that."

Broadhead started every game and played all but 77 minutes of Everton's Premier League 2 campaign as Unsworth's side finished top for the second time in three seasons. 

They went on to complete a memorable double by beating Newcastle United 1-0 in the Premier League Cup final at Goodison Park earlier this month. 

Broadhead's standout contribution during the campaign was a brace in a 2-0 Merseyside derby victory at Anfield in early April - a result he says gave the young Blues the belief to go on and become champions. 

"They were probably the two most important goals of the season because that win gave us momentum to go on and do what we did," he said. "It gave us confidence as a team and, personally, it gave me confidence to kick on with my own form from that game. 

"It gives you goosebumps going out to play in a big derby like that, it was a decent crowd that night and I like playing in front of crowds so that gave me a bit of a boost as well. To win at Anfield, it was a good night." 


Bangor-born Broadhead is no stranger to recognition having previously won Everton Under-18s' Player of the Season award in 2015/16. 

He admits it is always encouraging for a player to receive accolades from coaching staff and says he will take it as an indicator he is heading in the right direction. 

The winger also paid tribute to coach Unsworth for making key changes to his game this term.  

"To get Player of the Season, it means a lot," he said. "There's a lot of talent in this squad, there's good banter and good team togetherness and it's just been proved because we've gone on to do the double.

"It's been a tough season, right from the first day of pre-season, so to be noticed by the coaches for the way I've played week in and week out, the effort I've put in in training, the performances, it's an honour to get the award. 

"It's made me feel wanted by Unsy and the staff and it's given me confidence to go on into next season and try to do the same again. 

"I do think my game has come on this season, mainly defensively. I took on board a lot of what was said to me because I wasn't getting as many opportunities as I would have liked last season and this season I've played almost every minute.   

"He [Unsworth] tries to make the game as simple as possible - he tells me to go forward and run as hard as I can backwards. Two years ago I probably wasn't doing that but he's taught me how important it is to get back, help the full-back and help the team. 

"Awards like this tell me I'm doing well but you can't rest on that and I just have to work hard, keep my head down and carry on doing what I'm doing."