Ryan Giggs: Cymru - Chapter 1: New Beginning
Ryan Giggs represented Cymru on 64 occasions during his illustrious playing career. Although he enjoyed unparalleled success in the colours of Manchester United, qualifying for the finals of a major tournament with his country eluded him.
In January 2018, Giggs was appointed Cymru manager, succeeding Chris Coleman with the remit of leading the national team to UEFA EURO 2020 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. With qualification for the EURO finals next summer confirmed, this new and exclusive behind the scenes five-part documentary reflects on the journey that Giggs has been on as the manager of the national team.
CHAPTER 1 - 'NEW BEGINNING'
Ryan Giggs was unveiled as the new Cymru manager at a press conference in January 2018, but his first experience of leading the team on the field would take place on the other side of the world as the side made the long journey to the China Cup in March to take on the hosts in the opening game before meeting Uruguay in the final.
In this opening episode, we talk to the Cymru fans on the streets of Nanning ahead of the first match of this new era, while taking a look at the preparations and build-up to the mini-tournament as Giggs explains the thought process behind his squad selection and the short and long-term aims from this first experience of managing his country.
“I'm not bothered about age,” explains Giggs when asked about the new faces in his squad. “If you're good enough, you will get a chance. It's healthy competition and I want to see that everyday in training. I want these younger players to push the more experienced players. I want to create a competitive squad.”
The two games offered a glimpse into the future with Harry Wilson scoring his first international goal to mark his 21st birthday, but it was Gareth Bale who continued to make headlines as he eclipsed the goalscoring record of Ian Rush with an impressive hat-trick. “It's great to break the record on a personal note,” said Bale. “But the most important thing was the performance.”
Heading to California a couple of months later to take on Mexico in a friendly following an open training session in Wrexham, Giggs and his backroom staff discussed the process behind their tactical experiments and taking the opportunity to test different players in different positions, while offering the young players the chance to impress on their elevation to the senior squad.
With previously unseen footage, this opening episode provides a valuable insight into Giggs' introduction to international management, and sets the tone for his tenure to date as he begins to build a side in his own vision ahead of the inaugural UEFA Nations League campaign later in the year.
“I'm proud, excited, and a little bit nervous,” said Giggs. “But I can't wait to get going. I'll give everything I've got, like I've always done. Myself and the staff will work as hard as we can, just like the players, and make the fans proud of their national team.”