Welsh National Team manager Ryan Giggs has shared how he has been trying to look on the bright side during the global pandemic that has seen virtually all top-level football suspended at both a domestic and international level.
Speaking to beIN SPORTS, the former Manchester United winger spoke of focusing on the positives that the situation has forced upon him and the wider footballing world, namely on the impact of the delay of the European Championships to 2021.
“I’m always someone who tries to look at the positives… Joe Allen, who was a huge player for us during the qualifiers, he would have missed out this summer. Now, injury permitting, he will be available next summer,” said Giggs of the Stoke City midfielder who ruptured an Achilles tendon in early March.
Giggs was himself capped 64 times for Wales after making his debut as a 17-year old. “We’ve got a lot of young players within the squad who will be a year older, a year more experienced, and the older players… it isn’t going to make that much of a difference.”
This break has been especially frustrating for Giggs and Wales, however, with his side enjoying a good run of form. “Of course we had a bit of momentum. We would have loved to have played this summer,” Giggs said, referencing the four wins and 2 draws in their last 6 games during 2019.
Originally scheduled to play Austria, United States, and the Netherlands before Euro 2020, Giggs is now not even sure when he can gather his side again. “It looks like I’m not going to be seeing the players for a long time. This is the biggest break that you have between the clubs and international football - November to March - and now it’s going to be probably about a year, or just under a year before I see the players.”
Wales have been drawn into Group A of the European Championships, alongside Turkey, Italy, and Switzerland, with games slated to be taking place in Baku and Rome. Semi-finalists in 2016, the 2021 edition will be only their second-ever appearance at the tournament, having failed to qualify prior to their run to the final four in France, where they were eliminated by eventual champions Portugal.
There was no bitterness from Giggs when broaching the subject of the delay of Euro 2020 to 2021, who like many understands the unique and delicate nature of the situation that has transcended all aspects of industry and society, and while positive, the Welshman was still being pragmatic and astute, steering clear from any calls for a premature restart to football or sport in general.
“Obviously it’s disappointing, but understandably as well, I think that making sure everyone is safe and well comes before football at this time.”
Ryan Giggs is part of The Champions Club with Jens Lehman & John Barnes hosted by Angus Scott. The first episode of the show will be broadcast on Wednesday 29th April, at 21:00 Mecca on beIN 11HD.