By Mark Wyatt
Ryan Giggs named his very first Wales squad on Thursday after being appointed manager of the national team in January.
The only notable absentees were Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who needs a “small procedure” during the international break, and David Edwards who has taken the decision to retire from international football.
“It’s a blow because he’s a quality player but it’s the best thing to do for the future and for Aaron,” said Giggs.
Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale has been included in the squad and will meet his teammates in China before their opening game against the hosts on Thursday.
Uncapped goalkeepers Chris Maxwell of Preston North End and Michael Crowe of Ipswich were also included.
They joined Swansea’s Connor Roberts, Brentford’s Christopher Mepham and Preston’s Billy Bodin to make up five uncapped players in the first squad of the Giggs era.
Ashley Williams has been confirmed to stay in place as captain as Giggs was keen to stick to with his skipper.
“I saw no reason for change,” he said. “A couple of weeks ago I had a meeting with all the staff in Manchester for us to get to know each other and Ash came along. He’s a big part of that, he’s been a brilliant servant both as player and captain.
“There’s no reason to change. He’s getting to the end of his career so it’s something will have to look at in the future, but he’s been a brilliant captain on and off the pitch and he’ll continue to do that.”
Giggs also confirmed his backroom staff for his tenure, with Osain Roberts and Tony Roberts retaining their previous roles.
Giggs was also pleased to see former Manchester United coach Albert Stuivenberg also join alongside Tony Strudwick in a new-look backroom setup.
“Two people who I know and trust and I know what they are capable of. They, like the players, are capable of great things,” said Giggs.
“They will be a massive plus not only for the first team but for the Welsh set up as a whole. It’s a great coup for the FAW to have someone like Tony Strudwick who has been part of Manchester United for 12 years and part of the England set-up, he’s got vast experience and he’s excited as well. So is Albert.
“I’ve known him from United, working closely for two years, day in, day out. I know the way he thinks and he’s also had international experience as well.
“He’s not like me which is good. We’re the same in a lot of respects but also very different. He’s someone who challenges you, challenges the players, good ideas, good person and someone you can trust.
“That’s what you want from your staff. You have enough problems managing players, you don’t want to be managing staff. It’s about delegating. That’s what I learnt under Sir Alex and Louis, they are great managers, they delegate and give the staff a purpose and make them feel part of the process.”
With Giggs’ playing career starting at a young age in the spotlight he called upon his time at Manchester United as a player and a manager to express his commitment to giving young players a chance for Wales
“Even in my four games at United I gave Tom Lawrence his debut and James Wilson. I am not afraid to do that. I see it in training and then I want to see if I can do it on the pitch.
“It has never been a problem for me giving young players a chance. Marcus Rashford obviously, I have seen him develop and given him a chance. Marcus was someone got injured in the warm up and I always say that when I got my chance it was Lee Sharpe who got injured.
“I couldn’t see a way into the first team. Sharpey had won PFA young player of the year and he was playing for England. I was thinking he is in my position. You get a bit of unlucky for Sharpey lucky for me but you take that chance.
“That is up to the young player – you give them a chance and they have to take it. The easy bit is getting in the team, the hard bit is staying in it.”
Wales squad: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Chris Maxwell (Preston), Michael Crowe (Ipswich); Ashley Williams (Everton), James Chester (Aston Villa), Ben Davies (Tottenham), Chris Gunter (Reading), Neil Taylor (Aston Villa), Declan John (Rangers), Connor Roberts (Swansea), Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea), Tom Lockyer (Bristol Rovers); Joe Allen (Stoke), Joe Ledley (Derby), Lee Evans (Sheffield United), Andy King (Swansea), Ryan Hedges (Barnsley), Chris Mepham (Brentford), Marley Watkins (Norwich), Tom Lawrence (Derby), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Ben Woodburn (Liverpool), Harry Wilson (Hull); Billy Bodin (Preston), Sam Vokes (Burnley), Tom Bradshaw (Barnsley)