Portsmouth midfielder Joe Morrell's message to doubters who believe League One football will ruin promising Wales career

Joe Morrell is adamant League One football won’t impact upon his international aspirations.

By Neil Allen
Thursday, 19th August 2021, 5:15 pm
Joe Morrell made his Pompey debut against Crewe last weekend. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages
Joe Morrell made his Pompey debut against Crewe last weekend. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

The midfielder has 19 caps for Wales, while this summer started all four of their matches at the Euro 2020 Championships.

Despite his stock rising considerably during his country’s march into the final 16, Morrell opted to drop into League One with Pompey.

By the 24-year-old’s own admission, he was presented with the opportunity to remain in the Championship.

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That included staying at Luton, where he was frustrated by just 11 outings in a maiden Kenilworth Road campaign.

Wales next month have a friendly in Finland (September 1) and World Cup qualifiers against Belarus (September 5) and Estonia (September 8).

And Morrell expects his presence in Rob Page’s squad to be unaffected, despite now in League One.

He told The News: ‘I got into the Wales squad being a League One footballer – and I stayed in it not playing in the Championship, so I don’t think it will affect that.

‘The chance of regular football is the motivating factor, regardless of the level.

‘Obviously I had a frustrating time last year at Luton, it didn’t pan out as anybody wanted it to.

‘I don’t think that was necessarily anyone’s fault, sometimes this happens in football, it’s a tough industry and the Championship is a tough league.

‘Maybe I could have got a few more opportunities but that’s that, we shook hands and moved on – and I don't see Pompey as a step down.

‘I still want to play in the Championship, I’m not conceding that I am going to be a League One player for the rest of my career because I certainly want to play higher than that.

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‘When choosing my move, it was about not letting your ego get in the way, that’s really important.

‘I didn't think it would have benefited anybody for me to stay in the Championship this year and try to be a Championship player if I wasn’t going to get the opportunity there.

‘I want to play games, I want to play every Saturday, I want to feel important on a Saturday, I want to wake up on Sunday with kicks and bruises everywhere.

‘And I feel I have that opportunity here.’

Ipswich-born, Bristol-raised Morrell qualifies for Wales through his mum.

After making his international debut in September 2019 while on loan at League One Lincoln, he has established himself as a regular.

Morrell added: ‘There were a couple of (Championship) clubs this summer, a couple of sniffs, but there was the opportunity to come and play regular football and to feel wanted.

‘There were offers from the Championship, but I've made the best decision for me as a footballer.’

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