World Cup - Wales

Kieffer Moore on his 'mental' journey from non-league & being a lifeguard to the World Cup

Scott Saunders
Kieffer Moore is hoping for a starting berth for Wales against Iran
Kieffer Moore is hoping for a starting berth for Wales against Iran / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Wales striker Kieffer Moore is hopeful of starting in his side's World Cup Group B match against Iran on Friday, following his game-changing performance against the United States earlier this week.

Gareth Bale scored a penalty to force a 1-1 draw for Wales against USMNT, but after a poor first half performance with Moore on the bench, the Bournemouth striker caused plenty of issues for the opposing defence.

Moore's absence from the start was a surprise and manager Rob Page has since admitted he got the decision wrong, but Moore is pushing to be included from the first whistle as Wales attempt to take three points from their second fixture.

Speaking ahead of the game on his chances of starting, Moore said: "I guess that's that's a manager's decision to make. Obviously, I wanted to impose myself on the game and do what I could. So, you know, hopefully I'm in a position to start on Friday.

"I knew what I had to do at half time, and just to play my game really. So to come away with a draw out of that game is a fair reflection.

"Of course, every player wants to play every single game. We're at a World Cup, who doesn't want to play? It was the manager's decision. And, you know, on another day, it could have easily turned the other way."

When asked what qualities he possesses to make a difference, he added: "I think it's everything really. My willingness to run and work for the team, you know, obviously I have the physical and height advantage, so I like to play to my strengths and I like to bring other people into play. So I felt like that was a great opportunity to do that.

Moore's story is unique - having balanced a job as a lifeguard and working in a gym at the start of his career alongside trying to make it to the top level in the game. From his days in non-league, now he's altering the course of matches at Wales' first World Cup in 64 years.

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"It's been a it's been a mental journey," Moore said. "It's what you dream of as a little boy to play at a World Cup. So, you know, if I do manage to start on Friday, it'll be a very proud moment for myself and my family and one which took a lot of hard work and dedication to get to.

"I'm enjoying every moment and every second here. It's an incredible experience.

"I feel like over the last four or five years, I've really grown as a player. I really enjoy these big moments when I've been called upon and I can't wait for Friday."

Life experience and being out in the real world, as Moore puts it, is what he thinks has helped him to become the player he is today, given the difficulties he's been through in the earlier part of his career.

"I think when you're in the academies I suppose you're a bit sheltered to that and you know, I wouldn't say I've had a tough life but it's been a tough journey to get to this point. A lot of sacrifice, a lot of hard work.

"When I was working at the same time as playing football, it was it was a lot of work and a lot of sacrifices I had to put in. But, ultimately that's led me to have this is hard work and ethos, and I still have it now."

Wales play Iran on Friday in the World Cup's first game of the day, hoping to take three points to strengthen their position in the context of the group. Rivals England and the United States face off later in the day.