The Ryan Giggs interview: An England dilemma, Gareth Bale and the transfer status
The Wales boss spoke about the Nations League, the upcoming clash with England and the transfer status of his players in an interview with WalesOnline
Wales made a dream start to their 2020/21 Nations League campaign by securing 1-0 wins over Finland and Bulgaria.
And yet, having seen their heroes extend their winning run to four matches and their unbeaten sequence to eight games, the focus of the Red Wall is now firmly on next month – and on Wembley in particular.
Wales will face England in London on October 8 before their Nations League double header with Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria.
Ryan Giggs was without several key players — including Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen — for the recent international break. And the Wales boss says the availability of his players will dictate how strong a side he selects to face the Three Lions.
"Aaron, I expect to be back. Joe Rodon, he played at the weekend so he should be back. Meps [Chris Mepham] should be back as well," said Giggs at the relaunch of the McDonald’s Fun Football programme.
"Joe [Allen], we're just keeping in contact with him. He's been out a long time, it's a big injury. We'll just see how he goes over the next three or four weeks. He's been back on the grass, but it might be a little bit too soon for Joe. We'll see.
"[For team selection] It just depends on the strength of the squad and the players that could come back. The added bonus with the first game is that you can make a few more substitutions.
"It's three away games, and it's England which will mean so much to the country and the players. But then you've got the Nations League where you actually are in a group and there's points to be won.
"It will be a juggling act in respect to trying to get the balance right. We're in a good position in the Nations League, you want to keep that while also recognising that a lot of the players will want to play at Wembley against England."
Gareth Bale was unable to play the full 90 minutes in both of Wales' wins over Finland and Bulgaria given his lack of match action for Real Madrid.
The 31-year-old has fallen out of favour under Zinedine Zidane and recently revealed the Spanish giants have blocked him from exiting the club.
But Giggs is confident that his talisman will secure a transfer if he believes he's got no chance of playing regularly for the reigning La Liga champions this term.
"I just hope he starts playing. The last 18 months he's not played a lot, but he's started every game for me," admitted Giggs.
"I always want the players to be playing because when they turn up [for Wales], it's easier.
"If you're playing two games in a short space of time, if you're not playing at club level, it's a quick turnaround and it's difficult to play two lots of 90 minutes."
And when asked where Bale should go, Giggs responded: "I haven't got a preference. It's where Gareth is happiest. He's at a fantastic club with Real Madrid, but if he feels he's not getting enough football and he needs a move then I'm sure that'll happen.
"I'm sure there'll be a lot of clubs queuing up for Gareth, it's just whether the club can make it happen."
Another man who has been heavily linked with a move in the summer transfer window is David Brooks.
The winger made his first Wales appearance for more than a year in the 1-0 win against Bulgaria at Cardiff City Stadium, although he is set to ply his trade in the Championship this season following Bournemouth's relegation from the Premier League.
The 23-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Giggs' former club Manchester United this summer.
And the Wales boss admits he's confident Brooks will do the business in the near future, regardless of which league he's playing in at club level.
"He wasn't available for the first game, but it was great for him to join up later in the week and start the second game. He's a very talented player. He ended the season playing a lot of games, but it's a long time out," said Giggs.
"I've seen there's speculation about a lot of players. Brooksy's obviously a talented player and now Bournemouth are in the Championship. I've always said it's better if the lads are playing, and the higher the standard the better as well. But that isn't always a given.
"Some players have gone to Premier League teams and not actually played. We've got a lot of lads in the Championship. I don't think it would matter with Brooksy, even if it's in the Premier League or Championship, he'd still have that bit of class.
"There's a lot of speculation with a lot of Premier League clubs, United included. He's a player who gets you off your seat, he's someone who likes to take players on and make things happen."
Daniel James is a man who did make the move from the second tier to Old Trafford last year.
Ahead of the recent international break, Giggs admitted Wales' double header could serve as a springboard for the winger to start his 2020/21 campaign in style.
And James' international boss Giggs now thinks the former Swansea City man can give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a real selection headache this term.
"He was excellent, especially in the first game. It was a lot to ask for some of the players who hadn't played for a long time to play two lots of 90 minutes," he added.
"He's still young. If you go back 18 months he was just getting into the Swansea team, so it has been an interesting two years or so. He'll be all the better for last season's experiences.
"He'll look to start the season well and give Ole the problem of picking him. But with teams like United who are in Europe, you'll always have a lot of games, so you'll get plenty of game time, and when you do get the chance you have to take it."
Elsewhere, Dylan Levitt and Ethan Ampadu have both secured loan moves away from Manchester United and Chelsea respectively.
Levitt - who made his international debut against Finland - will spend the duration of the upcoming season at Charlton Athletic while Ampadu has joined Sheffield United.
And Giggs says it was vital that the Wales duo secured transfers in a bid to get regular first team football at club level.
"It was a decision Dylan had to make. He had to go away and play men's football to make that step up," Giggs said.
"Now it's up to him to make sure he gets in the team and stays in the team. He is a quality act and I like the way he plays and his range of passing. He did really well for me on his debut in what was a difficult game. He got stronger in the game and that experience will do him good.
"As for Ethan, he's not played enough football in the last two years really, he's had a few injury problems and he's played more for me than his club.
"But he's a quality act. The last two games he played at centre-half. He can play in midfield, and he's at a good club with a good manager who plays an interesting system.
"He will probably fit into any of the centre-half positions or midfield. It's up to him to get into the team and stay in the team."
Wales' remaining 2020 fixtures
- England (A) - Thursday, October 8 (8pm)
- Republic of Ireland (A) - Sunday, October 11 (2pm)
- Bulgaria (A) - Wednesday, October 14 (7:45pm)
- Republic of Ireland (H) - Sunday, November 15 (5pm)
- Finland (H) - Wednesday, November 18 (7:45pm)
Wales manager Ryan Giggs was relaunching McDonald’s Fun Football programme, which offers fun, free and safe football sessions for children age 5-11. To find your nearest Fun Football Centre and to sign up for a session, go to: www.mcdonalds.co.uk/football.