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 

Three Welsh players net their first club goals this season

Cardiff-born Andrew Hughes is doing all that he can to capture the attention of Ryan Giggs. The Preston left-back scored his first goal for the club from a free kick after signing in the summer. With Paul Dummett currently injured and other left-backs Neil Taylor and Declan John not getting regular football, Hughes could be in contention for his first international call up next week. Chris Maxwell was in goal for Preston but couldn’t stop West Brom scoring three goals to win the game 3-2.

It was the perfect day for Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium as they beat QPR 3-0. Connor Roberts scored his first goal for the club, following his first career goal just three weeks ago for Wales. Joe Rodon kept his place at the back and could be another player to earn his first Wales senior call up. Daniel James was an unused substitute for the Swans.

Tyler Roberts maintained his good form with Leeds as they drew 1-1 with Sheffield Wednesday. Roberts played the full match and bagged an assist for the stunning Leeds equaliser. Ash Baker played an hour for Sheff Weds at left back.

It was a first goal of the season for Sam Vokes, who headed in Burnley’s winner against Cardiff to win 2-1. Jazz Richards was an unused substitute for Cardiff in the same game.

Keiron Freeman is another player who will be looking to impress Ryan Giggs ahead of upcoming internationals, as he remains first-choice right-back for Sheffield United. He played 90 mins in a dramatic 3-2 away win against Millwall, where veteran Steve Morison captained the home side. Tom Bradshaw was an unused sub for Millwall and Ben Woodburn was not in the 18 for Sheff Utd.

Ashley Williams and Joe Allen started together in the Stoke team for the first time this month, but were unable to guide the team to their third league victory of the season. Stoke conceded two goals again and sit in 17th position after drawing 2-2 with 18th placed Rotherham.

Brentford’s Chris Mepham and Reading’s Chris Gunter played 90 minutes against each other on Saturday in a game that finished 2-2 at Griffin Park. Meanwhile, Derby’s Harry Wilson couldn’t quite match the excellent level he displayed at Old Trafford in midweek against Man Utd. Derby lost against Bolton 1-0 away from home and Tom Lawrence made his first appearance for The Rams after returning from suspension. Christian Doidge came on for the final 15 minutes for Bolton.

James Chester played his regular 90 minutes for Villa, but failed to keep a clean sheet again. The game finished 1-1 with Bristol City and Marley Watkins appeared for a few minutes to see out the match.

Lee Evans‘ Wigan lost 1-0 away from home against Norwich, where Louis Thompson made a second half appearance in midfield for the Canaries. Evans is a likely candidate to be called up next week because Andy King and Joe Ledley are not getting any first team football currently.

Aaron Ramsey will have been massively disappointed to be taken off after an hour for Arsenal. The breakdown in contract negotiations became public news this week and will have no doubt influenced Emery’s decision in the game to bring Ramsey off early. Ramsey is rumoured to move to Serie A, either in January for a fee or next summer when his contract finishes.

It was a slight worry to see Gareth Bale brought off at half time in the Madrid derby for what was thought to be a minor muscular injury. Here’s hoping he is fit for the matches against Spain and Rep. of Ireland in a couple of weeks.

In League One, Adam Matthews came on very early in the first half for Sunderland as they drew 1-1 with Coventry. Adam Davies remains as Barnsley no.1 and played 90 mins in their 3-1 win against Fleetwood. Tom Lockyer came off injured after 38 minutes for Bristol Rovers.

Alex Babos made his first appearance for Spanish Segunda side Real Union on Sunday evening, coming on in the 76th minute. 18-year-old Matt Smith played in central midfield in FC Twente’s 2-1 comeback win.

Follow the blog on Twitter to receive all of the latest updates.

Read more:
• Wales Watch: Harry Wilson shows his quality in the League Cup
• Wales Watch: Ramsey and Wilson hit form 
• Tyler Roberts was the star player of the midweek games 
• Club football restarts: Welsh player updates 

Are we witnessing the birth of another ‘golden generation’?

Wales kicked off their Nations League campaign under Ryan Giggs with an emphatic 4-1 win over the Republic of Ireland on Thursday night.
Chris Gunter (29), James Chester (29), Joe Ledley (31) and Sam Vokes (28) were all left out of the starting eleven in favour of Connor Roberts (22), Chris Mepham (20), Ethan Ampadu (17) and David Brooks (21). Is this the start of something incredibly special for Wales?

Continue reading “Are we witnessing the birth of another ‘golden generation’?”

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