Ryan Giggs praises 'outstanding' captain Ashley Williams
Wales captain Ashley Williams put in an "outstanding, magnificent" performance in their 1-0 Nations League win over Republic of Ireland, says Ryan Giggs.
Centre-back Williams has struggled for form with Wales and club side Stoke City in recent months.
However, the 34-year-old, making his 82nd appearance for Wales, steered a young, depleted side to victory in Dublin with an imperious display.
"Outstanding, man of the match by a million miles," said Wales boss Giggs.
"I wasn't happy with the first-half performance - he was the only one really who showed the things I was looking for, winning challenges.
"He was just magnificent, a real captain's performance.
"I get asked all the time about the younger players coming in but the older, experienced players are just as important, and they showed that.
"I said that to the players: 'They're the players you've got to look up to.' A lot of good performances but his stood out."
Williams' maturity in defence at the Aviva Stadium was invaluable given the absence of experienced players such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.
It has been a difficult period in Williams' career, with the former Swansea City skipper losing his starting place at Everton and getting loaned to Championship side Stoke.
He was one of several Wales players who struggled during Thursday's 4-1 friendly drubbing by Spain, taken off at half-time after Giggs' side had conceded three goals in the first half.
But Williams and his team-mates were much improved in Dublin, albeit against a toothless Republic of Ireland side.
The win - courtesy of Harry Wilson's 58th-minute free-kick - moved Wales to the top of Group B4 in the Nations League and guaranteed they will be at least in pot two of the seedings for the Euro 2020 qualifying draw in December.
"Of course it's important," said Giggs.
"We set out in this Nations League to win the group and see where it took us.
"It won't be easy. We've got Denmark at home but Cardiff City Stadium will be bouncing - we're guaranteed that - and we're really looking forward to the challenge now."
'Doing the horrible side of football'
Williams was delighted with the manner of Wales' win.
"It's a big one. We've had a lot of wins like that in our recent history, but for a lot of the boys, especially the new lads, it's a first really, 1-0 win away from home like that where we have to dig in.
"A game like that's brilliant for them.
"I think they did really well in the Ireland game at home. They showed the talent and quality they've got which is what we'd probably expect.
"But to come out and stand up to a very difficult, physical team and everyone's heading, everyone's tackling, everyone's running and really doing the horrible side of football and trying to do it to the best of their ability, then that's pleasing to see."
The former Swansea City captain added: "I did enjoy it. As a defender I've said it many times.
"After wins like this, 1-0, especially away from home and clean sheets, it's the most satisfying.
"I really wanted one of the lads to score one of the breakaways, but at the end of the game, when you sit down and feel exhausted, it's really pleasing."