BURNLEY and Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey says qualifying for the World Cup is the highlight of his international career so far.

Hennessey was part of the Euro 2016 and 2020 squads, helping the Dragons into the semi-finals of the former tournament in France.

But the 35-year-old produced a superb performance to defy Ukraine in Sunday’s 1-0 play-off final victory in Cardiff and secure a spot in the Qatar World Cup later this year.

Hennessey made nine saves as Ukraine had the most shots by a team without scoring during the entire 2022 European World Cup qualifying campaign.

“These are what dreams are made of, this is the top,” said the Burnley shot stopper.

“It was the best game I've played in a Wales shirt. So what a time to do it and, yeah, we are going to a World Cup.

“As a boy growing up you watch all the Wales games and we never used to get to major tournaments. So to go to the World Cup is unbelievable.

“A lot of youngsters have come in, they have really gelled, and it’s an exciting time for Wales and to be a supporter.”

Hennessey won his 102nd cap against Ukraine, but his selection was not straightforward.

He spent Euro 2020 understudying Leicester’s Danny Ward and made only three appearances for Burnley last season, with England international Nick Pope very much the number one at Turf Moor.

Ward missed the semi-final play-off win over Austria in March following knee surgery, and Wales boss Rob Page stuck with Hennessey for the Ukraine decider.

Page said: “(My decision) didn't needed justifying. But I pulled Wardy before and explained that I was going with Wayne.

“He understood it and said it was not a problem.

“I was loyal to Wayne after what he did in the semi-finals, and he absolutely paid me back with that performance.

“Gareth (Bale) said it was the best performance he had ever seen from a goalkeeper, and I would echo that sentiment.”

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