FORMER Budmouth student Charlotte Harris took to the international stage for Wales Women’s Under-19s in their 1-0 loss to Northern Ireland in Portadown during 2020 European Championship Qualifier action last night.

Harris played the full 90 minutes for the Welsh, who ended the match with 10 players after Josie Smith saw red late on.

Northern Ireland's Jessica Rea scored what proved to be the match-winner in the 73rd minute.

Manchester City Women’s Under-23 star Harris, who notched her first goal for the Citizens in September against Arsenal, is the daughter of former Weymouth maestro Andy.

The teenage defender is in Wales’ 18-strong squad and could make two further appearances this week.

Wales are scheduled to battle it out with Norway on Saturday and Moldova on Tuesday, with all matches being held in Northern Ireland.

“She’s done amazingly well,” father Andy told Echosport. “This time last year she was heading up to play for Manchester City which was a huge event in her life.

“It’s been a real eye-opener the last 12 months. She went up to City having played for Dorset, the South West and Weymouth Cougars.

“Then she found herself in a full-time environment with girls who’ve been training in academies for a long time. So she had a tough year last year physically, emotionally, technically and tactically.

“She settled in just after Christmas, found her feet and got stronger and fitter.”

Harris revealed Charlotte’s selection for Wales is down to her paternal grandparents.

“As part of the academy process they have to complete histories of grandparents and parents to see where their eligibilities lie with,” Andy explained.

“We completed that and Wales got in contact. Through my father, who was born in Wales, she had a Welsh connection there so they invited her to a training camp in June for two days in Cardiff.

“She played against a lads’ team and did very well, so they invited her back in July. In September they had a training camp and essentially it was a trial.

“She played against a Cardiff City Ladies performance team. Charlotte played left-back and left-sided centre-back and did very well against some really good female players.

“So, she made the final 18 and she’s over in Northern Ireland for 10 days.”

Expanding on 17-year-old Charlotte’s reaction, Andy said: “She’s buzzing, they’re going to train and they get given all their kit.

“She’s got 10 days of playing international football. It’s little things like she’s got to hand her phone in at 9 o’clock at night and she doesn’t get it back until breakfast the next day to ensure that they’re getting a good night’s sleep.

“Their food is taken care of and their diet is taken into account. She’s had to have a heart scan to make sure she’s fit and proper and that was all good.

“She can’t wait – it’s been a big 12 months and long may it continue. She’s a very grounded girl. She works her socks off with anything she does and her head’s certainly not in the clouds.

“We’ve told her to go over there and embrace it. She’s playing well. She’s playing left-back for both club and country but she’s loving being involved.”

The two highest teams in Group Five will progress to the elite group next Spring, from which the winners will advance to Georgia for the all-important showpiece finals in July.