FORMER Berkeley resident Christian Ribeiro says his confidence is ‘sky high’ after earning his first senior Wales call-up.

The 19-year-old Bristol City defender was a surprise addition to John Toshack’s squad after starring for the under-21s in their stunning European qualifying 2-1 victory over Italy at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night where he scored the first goal and put in a solid display at centre-back.

It completed a massive turnaround in fortunes for the youngster after he suffered a horrific cruciate ligament injury 26 minutes into his City debut against Peterborough United in a Carling Cup tie in August 2008.

After several months of undergoing rehab, Ribeiro returned to full training during pre-season and made his first team comeback against Carlisle United last month, where he played the full 90 minutes in a 2-0 Carling Cup defeat.

“I feel I deserve a bit of luck,” admitted Ribeiro.

“It was a horrible injury. I’ve worked really hard and I’m back into it now.”

“All this is great for me, it’s a great experience. I’m still only 19 and at every training session I’m learning new things.

“My confidence is sky high after the call-up came out of the blue. It’s a fantastic reward for me, I can’t wait for every game of football.

“When you’re marking people like Craig Bellamy in training it’s a great learning curve.”

Ribeiro has been training with the Wales squad for the past three days in the lead up to last night’s World Cup qualifier against Russia at the Millennium Stadium, but did not play a part in the match. Toshack was impressed enough to give Ribeiro a chance in the senior squad after watching him give Wales under-21s the lead against Italy before Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey struck the winner.

Ribeiro said: “I couldn’t believe it when John Toshack pulled me to one side and said he wanted me to meet with the full squad on Sunday.

“Initially I thought he was joking but I am over the moon!”

Ribeiro was born in Neath but his family moved to Berkeley when he was six and they have lived in Ruscombe near Stroud for the last five years.

When living in the area, he played youth football for Wanswell Wanderers, who were coached by his dad Mike.

Although yet to make a league appearance for Bristol City he has represented Wales at under-17, U19 and U21 level.

Everton boss David Moyes is believed to be an admirer of Ribeiro, who was linked with a £750,000 move to the Premiership club before signing a long-term deal with City last summer.