Kieffer Moore has described himself as a “very unusual” threat for Wales as he prepares to continue his remarkable rise from non-league football by leading the line for Ryan Giggs’ side against World Cup finalists Croatia this weekend.
Moore, the 6ft 5in former lifeguard, scored his first international goal on his second appearance for Wales in Slovakia on Thursday night, when Giggs’ team secured a point which keeps alive their hopes of qualifying from their European Championships group.
The Wigan Athletic striker began his career at Truro City and Dorchester Town and worked as a lifeguard and personal trainer before climbing the ranks and making his Wales debut in a friendly against Belarus last month.
Giggs described Moore as providing Wales with a “different option” in attack and the striker is well aware that his powerful frame will make him a unique threat against Croatia on Sunday.
“I think I am a very unusual player for international football and it’s a massive plus,” said Moore, whose goal was his first since playing for Barnsley in League One last season. “You don’t see many players who can do what I do. It is always an advantage.
“I don’t believe I am a traditional target man. I would like to think I am very mobile and I can run the channels when needed, and I can finish. I can do the target man role too, I can head the ball and hold it up.”
Moore provided a platform for Daniel James and Gareth Bale, the Wales wingers, and headed home from James’ excellent first-half cross. “As soon as I saw the ball from Dan go up in the air, I knew it was a goal,” he said.
“I would not say there was a point when I did not think I would make it here. It was just when. It has been very up and down but the trajectory of my career is now on the up. I am fighting fit and I will keep going.
“I believe I have not got to this point just by luck. I’m a very hard worker and I have given my all to get to this point in my career. Sometimes you have to look around and you see these players and think ‘wow’. But at the end of the day it’s a football match and it’s 11 versus 11.”
Moore was playing for Forest Green Rovers, which led to an appearance for England C, while many of his current international team-mates were excelling at Euro 2016. Giggs first took an interest in the striker during Moore’s spell at Rotherham United, on loan from Ipswich Town, in the 2017-18 season.
“As soon as I joined Barnsley, we were trying to get the documents from my grandad to become eligible,” Moore said.
“[Giggs] just said to be a nuisance and try to hold the ball up, win everything and give their defence a hard time. I believe I did that and I am very thankful for the opportunity. I will always bleed for the cause.”