Wales v Denmark: Pre-match press conference with Giggs and Williams

Ryan Giggs and Ashley Williams speak ahead of the vital Wales v Denmark clash on Friday night at the Cardiff City Stadium.

RYAN GIGGS

Facing Denmark:

“You prepare every game and you try to do it the right way.

“There’s a bit more edge, more pace, added concentration for this match. You want all the players to affect the game, whether that’s starting or coming from the bench.

“You recognise that Denmark have a good manager and a good set of players. But we want to concentrate on our strengths and not worry too much about the opposition.”

“I was more unhappy about the result last time because we were definitely in the game up until the penalty.

“Looking back, we caused them problems. Overall, I wasn’t too down about the performance, but we will need to play better tomorrow.”

“We’ve got across to the players what we want to get from the game.

“We gave them as much information as we could at the start of the week. These last couple of days it’s more relaxed and now we just want the players to go out there and express themselves.”

Christian Eriksen:

“He’s a fantastic player who was the difference over in Aarhus.

We are aware of his qualities, we have a plan to stop him but doing it will be key. He is the best player for Denmark without a shadow of a doubt.

“We have our qualities as well, but Eriksen is up there with the top Premier League performers.”

The possibility of winning the group:

“I think for everyone, the coaching staff, the players, fans – to be promoted to League A, you know next time we will be amongst the big boys in the draw. We want to test ourselves with the best.”

“There are lots of incentives for us to top the group. To finish first would be great because there’s a second bite of the cherry to qualify for EURO 2020 and our seeding overall gets pushed higher as well.

“It’s in our hands, but it’s not going to be easy because we’re up against a top class side.

“They are going to be tough to beat and they are undoubtedly a very good team.”

Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and any injuries:

“Gareth is good, he arrived a little bit later than the rest of the group, but he’s looking fine and ready this week.

“We had to give him a different program at the beginning of the week, but he is fine for tomorrow.”

“There aren’t any injury doubts, but it’s not ideal having withdrawals [Chris Mepham].

“George Thomas is not in the squad due to injury, and he will be 50/50 for Albania. Everyone else is fine.”

“Aaron is a quality player, he’s played enough this season, albeit in deeper roles.

“He has had enough games, just like Gareth Bale, he is fine.”

Being back at the Cardiff City Stadium:

“The players probably know more than me about the experiences here.

“We had a good result and performance last time against the Republic of Ireland, but it wasn’t full.

“With what’s at stake – we will need the crowd’s help to win the game.”

ASHLEY WILLIAMS

A “cup final” against Denmark:

“It feels a little bit like a final because we both want to win the group and we know what’s at stake if we do we win.

“We have a really good balance throughout the squad and the young players stand up like men.

“With the young players, they have valuable experience for the next set of games. We are in a good position now with one game left.”

“I think Eriksen is the obvious star of the Danish team, but they have a very good set of players throughout.

“It’ll be something that we will think about throughout the game for sure.”

“We need to play better than we did in the last game against them. Being at home gives us an extra bonus; we have a clear game plan with how to win this time.

“We’ve worked hard to get here and we want to finish it off properly and win the group.”

Playing at the Cardiff City Stadium:

“We are looking forward to it – a Friday night in Cardiff is always a special occasion under the lights. Hopefully, we can repay the fans with a win.

We have had a great relationship with the fans for years now and they have taken to the change of team and manager. Everyone seems to be enjoying it and long may it continue.”

Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey:

“Gareth is sharp and ready to go. He’s had a good week, he’s happy around the camp and he doesn’t have any complaints.

“There will be two world-class players on show [Bale and Eriksen], we understand how good he is and Denmark will as well.”

“For us, Ramsey is one of the most important players for the team. He gives us something a little bit different, he is a leader and essential for us.

“We obviously want all of our most experienced players on the field at all times.

“A lot of big teams will be interested in him, I haven’t spoken to him about it [being linked with Bayern Munich], but it’s not surprising with the qualities he possesses.”

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive the latest updates on Welsh football.

Read more:
• Wales Watch: Gwion Edwards, Hal Robson-Kanu and Joel Lynch among the goals
• Ryan Giggs speaks at the squad announcement ahead of Denmark and Albania
• Wales Watch: James Chester’s heroics were the highlight of the weekend 

Ryan Giggs speaks at the squad announcement ahead of Denmark and Albania

Ryan Giggs announced his squad for the final Nations League clash against Denmark and an away friendly in Albania to finish 2018. The biggest surprise was the call-up of the unknown defender, James Lawrence. Neil Taylor returns to the squad, as does Dan James and Tom Lockyer.

Who is James Lawrence?

“We were made aware of him over the last six months or so. He’s played the majority of his career abroad.

“Albert [Stuivenberg] has watched him a couple of times, I’m looking to see him up close in training.”

“He fits the profile of what I want to play, he’s good with the ball at his feet. He’s playing regular football and fits exactly how we want to play.”

“His grandmother is from Haverfordwest, that’s how he qualifies for Wales.

“Someone at the Welsh FA made us aware of him, we will always check them out and see if they’re good enough.”

Chris Gunter potentially winning record caps this month:

“When he does get there [93 caps] and beats the record, it’ll be a fantastic achievement. He is someone who deserves all the plaudits he gets.

“He’s been brilliant to have around the squad, a good pro and is ready to be called upon like he did against Ireland. He’s a valuable member.”

“There’s great competition for places – during the week in training; it’s what I had as a player and we have that in our camp at the moment.

“It will be on my mind for Chris to break the record against Albania, but we have to look at the overall picture. Whether it will be in November or March we will have to wait and see.”

Neil Taylor’s return:

“Taylor has been unlucky for the past few squads, I know him and have played with him.

“He’s a popular member of the squad and playing regular football for Aston Villa. It gives Ben Davies a chance to have a rest over that period [because of his suspension].”

“Ben was disappointed not to be involved with Albania, but there’s a chance for him to take part in light training with Tottenham and get some rest.

“He’s played constantly since the summer, so it will be good for him to have a break.”

“Paul Dummett and Neil Taylor are very good replacement players for us to have when Ben is not available.

“Paul would have played in the last set of matches, it’s a shame he had to pull out because of his injury.”

Tough time for Gareth Bale in Spain:

“I’ve not seen many of the Real Madrid games this season, but we’re talking about a world-class player who never lets his country down. Hopefully, he’ll be meeting with us on Sunday.”

“He doesn’t need extra help, he’s been at Madrid for 5 years, I had stick at times at Man Utd. That’s something Gareth is used to dealing with.”

“He can’t wait to join up with the lads and be a part of the game. He’s an experienced player, he’s been there and experienced most things as a player.”

Dan James’ excellent form and embedding young players:

“He’s on fire at the moment and he’s someone who has got genuine pace. He’s exciting and he could start or act as an impact sub.

“We had him in the training camp before Mexico, he was unlucky to not travel to LA, but it will be good to have him with us now.”

“You always want players joining the squad who are playing regularly, especially forward players; if they’re confident and doing well it can make the difference.”

“It’s important to get the balance of the squad right [with youth and experience]. Exposing the younger players to play against Ireland in Dublin and Spain at home will hopefully stand us in good stead.”

“You saw with Matt Smith who made the mistake early on, he was helped by the more experienced players through the game.”

Matt Smith potentially missing Albania for a club game:

“That’s something we have to monitor in the next week or so.

“It’s a juggling act because we have a massive game on the Friday against Denmark and he’s a huge part of our squad.”

“We’ll have dialogue with Matty and the club and see how it goes.”

A chance to win the Nations League group v Denmark:

“I already knew they were a very good team, but we were in the game up until the penalty.

“It’ll be tough for us and Denmark, but we’re back at the CCS with a great atmosphere. It’s a really important game for us because we have a chance to win the group.

“I’m looking forward to it, as are the players to make it as difficult as possible for Denmark.”

“We are looking for the players to perform, it is a cup final – if we win, we top the group. There’s another chance for the Euro’s, we’ll be in Pot A and there’ll be financial rewards as well.”

“I’ve really enjoyed the Nations League, the fans have as well because it’s been really competitive.

“Like I’ve said, it gives us a big opportunity to win things if we win this game.”

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive the latest updates on Welsh football.

Read more:
• Wales Watch: James Chester’s heroics were the highlight of the weekend
• The Welsh Wingers are on fire 
• Doidge opens his account for Bolton 

Ryan Giggs announces his squad for the fixtures against Spain and Rep. of Ireland

Wales manager, Ryan Giggs named his 25-man squad ahead of the friendly v Spain and Nations League match v Republic of Ireland. This announcement didn’t draw too many surprises, other than Joe Rodon’s omission after his excellent form for Swansea.

The difficulty of picking players:

“It was straightforward this time because I was happy with the last camp. Tom Lockyer and Joe Ledley are injured at the moment, so they are the two players who are left out.”

“I feel as though Joe Rodon is best to go with Rob Page because I think Jazz Richards was a better fit to this squad. I have spoken to him in last few camps and he was unlucky to miss out on the last set of matches. Picking Jazz over Joe was the only real difficulty I had because Jazz isn’t getting regular games at Cardiff.”

Friendly with Spain at the Principality Stadium:

“Every player’s motivation will be high. Playing for your country, playing against a good team and a chance to test yourself at the Principality Stadium. It will be something different for the players, but they will be ready for the challenge.

“It will be getting the balance right for the competitive and more important game against Ireland, but also the players will be desperate to be involved against a top side in Spain.

“It’s my decision to analyse our players and make a decision on who is to play for both games. It’s possible that the team picked for the Ireland game could be a lot different to the Spain team.”

“We felt this game gave us a good opportunity to play in a bigger stadium. A lot of the players haven’t played there so it will be a fantastic occasion in a stadium where I have many happy memories – my favourite being the win against Italy and coming off the pitch in an unbelievable atmosphere.”

“I recognise that we have a great record at the Cardiff City Stadium. We’re not dismissing the Liberty or the Racecourse for future games either. For every game we need to have different options looking forward.”

Aaron Ramsey’s current situation:

“Ramsey won’t be affected when he comes with us. From what I saw from him last time when he met up, he was a fantastic player and a top professional.

“I don’t expect it [the contractual negotations] to impact his performances with Wales. All I’m concentrating on is a player who comes and gives his all with fantastic qualities.”

“He’s a good player so he’d be suitable to play in any league. But at the moment he’s an Arsenal player and he will be fully concentrating on that, it’s pure speculation at the moment.”

“I haven’t spoken to him yet about his wife having a baby. I don’t like to speak to players when they have games on the weekend, but in the next couple of days or so I will be in touch with Aaron about his personal situation.”

Gareth Bale’s minor injury and game time next week:

“Gareth had a groin strain on the weekend, but the scan was clear. He expects to play on Saturday evening for Real Madrid.

“You want a good relationship with all the clubs, especially with Gareth at Madrid. Every game is huge for a club of that size – how many minutes he plays, how often he trains etc. Ideally, I want him to play every minute, but that’s not possible.”

“Gareth Bale will be presented with an honour before the game against Spain next week for becoming Wales’ highest goalscorer. Make sure you get there early!”

The game against Rep. of Ireland in Dublin:

“It’s not easy for the quick turnaround, we should be fresh after our Spain match.

“I don’t think our game against Denmark was down to fatigue – we just didn’t have the length of time to prepare like we did for Ireland.”

“I respect Martin as a manager and I expect a backlash performance. When you get beat as a player, you want to rectify that so I expect a difficult game. If we play to the level that we did in the first game we’ll be fine.”

“The reception from the fans in Cardiff against Ireland was what dreams were made of. But our last game was against Denmark and we got beat and we need to improve on a lot of things. We have to get back to what we’re good at.”

When asked about Roy’s snub at the end of the game in Cardiff: “Roy, like me, is a winner so I expect him to have some reaction and there are no hard feelings.

“I was with him last week in Cork for Liam Miller’s memorial match. We were as normal as ever.”

Ethan Ampadu’s future:

“He is getting matches at U23 level, but it’s difficult as we’ve seen with Wilson and Woodburn [at Liverpool] to see where these players will get their games.

“I was more than pleased with how he turned up in the last camps. He’s only just turned 18 so he has plenty of time at a top club in Chelsea.

“Ethan can be anything he wants to be; what a player and character to have. A manager’s dream, but again, he’s only 18.”

Andy King picked despite not playing a game for Leicester:

“He’s frustrated with not playing at Leicester. It’s about seeing how the players turn up, of course, you want players playing regularly.

“He’s a good pro and looks after himself. Whether he plays 30 mins, an hour or not at all, we’ll assess that as good as we can do.”

Attacking quality in numbers:

He jokes: “I’m impressed with Tyler [Roberts] scoring but not with Harry [Wilson] scoring [against Manchester United last week].

“Sam Vokes scored for Burnley at the weekend. We want players coming into the camp scoring goals, it brings great competition to the camp.”

“I have no concerns regarding Ben Woodburn, he’s just not getting regular games at Sheffield United currently.

“Sometimes a loan works out sometimes it doesn’t, he can come through this and be a better player. It’s up to Ben now, he’s got the quality to perform.”

“David Brooks is another player I enjoy coaching, he can do things out of the ordinary. When you get your chance, you have to take it and he has at Bournemouth.”

A future Team GB:

“Without getting into the details, in my experience in 2012, it was fantastic. Whatever the FAW have with regards to the women is up to them.”


 

I also spoke with Wales U21 manager, Robert Page. You can view what he said on the blog’s Twitter feed – www.twitter.com/behindthegoal16

Read more:
• Mitchell Clark “surprised” at not being named in the Wales U21 squad
• Wales Watch: Tyler Roberts shines again for Leeds in midweek
• What needs to be done to end Cardiff’s winless campaign? 
• Three Welsh players net their first club goals this season 
• Wales Watch: Harry Wilson shows his quality in the League Cup 
• Wales Watch: Ramsey and Wilson hit form 

Rep. of Ireland pre-match press conference with Ryan Giggs & Ashley Williams

I attended the pre-match press conference this afternoon ahead of the game against the Rep of Ireland. Ryan Giggs and Ashley Williams answered questions on tomorrow evening’s match, the upcoming Denmark game on Sunday, playing in Cardiff again and more.

Continue reading “Rep. of Ireland pre-match press conference with Ryan Giggs & Ashley Williams”

Ben Davies on the Nations League matches & Dummett’s welcome back

Wales & Tottenham Hotspur defender, Ben Davies spoke with me ahead of the first set of competitive international matches this month, against Rep. of Ireland & Denmark.

He gives a brief insight into Danish domestic football, following the news that Denmark will not field a full strength side. He also talks about Paul Dummett’s return and the new crop of youngsters fighting for places.

Continue reading “Ben Davies on the Nations League matches & Dummett’s welcome back”

Tactical predictions for Wales v Rep. of Ireland

International football is back this week, in the new form of the Nations League. If you are unaware of what the Nations League is, feel free to read this explanation article I posted last month. In one simple sentence – they are competitive games and not friendlies.

Continue reading “Tactical predictions for Wales v Rep. of Ireland”

The break down of everything Ryan Giggs said at the Wales squad announcement

It’s the start of a new era for Welsh football. This morning’s squad announcement for the upcoming games against Ireland and Denmark included uncapped players and talented youngsters, which will generate a healthy mix of experience and youth.

Continue reading “The break down of everything Ryan Giggs said at the Wales squad announcement”

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started