Wales kicked off Ryan Giggs’ competitive reign as Wales manager with an emphatic 4-1 victory over the Republic of Ireland on Thursday night and Giggs believes he is ‘lucky’ with the talent at his disposal.
The new Wales boss named a host of youngster in his starting 11, including David Brooks, Chris Mepham and Ethan Ampadu. Each of the aforementioned youngsters produced impressive displays with both maturity and quality on the ball.
With a host of youth talent in his squad, Giggs will be excited to see what they bring in the coming years. But, for now, he is pleased with their progression.
“I’ve got a good balance not only in the squad, experienced players and young players, I’m lucky with what I have got,” said Giggs.
As a player who made his debut for the national side aged 17, Giggs is keen to press the importance of giving youth a chance.
“Me as a player, I got the chance as a young player but I also played until I was 40 so I can see both sides of the coin, age really doesn’t matter to me.
“What I had when I was younger was really good professionals in the dressing room who helped me.”
A key performer for Wales on Thursday was defensive midfielder Ethan Ampadu. The 17-year-old made his first competitive start for the Dragons but his performance suggested he had been playing in a Welsh shirt for years.
His fine contribution to Ramsey’s goal in the first half epitomised his overall performance. With a lovely interception of Irish possession in the middle of the pitch, Ampadu drove through the heart of the Irish midfield and showed his impressive passing range to precisely set up Ramsey for Wales’ third of the night.
On the topic of Ampadu in his post-match press conference, the Wales boss was highly complementary of the midfielder.
“Ethan is a talent. Not only as a player but also as a person, so measured and so sure. He just takes everything in his stride and Ethan is going to be a magnificent player,” said Giggs.
Whilst the Welsh boss was keen to play down the 4-1 victory after the game, he was clearly happy with the result as well as the performance.
“There wouldn’t have been many team who could’ve lived with us tonight. We’re going to give everyone a game.
“The bad news is you have to keep to those standards. You’ve got to keep improving, there’s loads of things we could’ve done better… but tonight enjoy the win.”
Attentions now turn to Denmark for Wales’ second game in the UEFA Nations League. Contractual rows between the Danish FA and senior players have put question marks over the strength of Wales’ opposition on Sunday.
However, Giggs says his side will be fully focused on the task in hand.
“It’s great to get the win but now we have a game against a very good team, a top 10 team. We might have to play even better on Sunday to get the result,” said Giggs.