Ryan Giggs: Cymru - Chapter 4: Stay Together. Stay Strong.
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 4 – 'Stay Together. Stay Strong.'
Ryan Giggs probably expected an easier question at the start of this latest episode as he was quizzed on Cymru's chances of EURO 2020 qualification by a group of school children on a visit to the Urdd Centre in Llangrannog. An impromptu training session with some of the children in attendance then showed an often unseen side of the manager ahead of the crucial home fixture against Azerbaijan.
“Obviously with two defeats we're up against it,” said Giggs. “But it's still early in the group and there's plenty of points to play for. If we've got aspirations to qualify we need to win all our home games, and we've got tough games ahead. Every time you play for your country you're under pressure, but we need to just welcome that pressure.”
Giggs also discusses the rise of young central defenders Joe Rodon, Tom Lockyer and Chris Mepham, and explains the importance of developing a central defensive partnership that injures have so far prevented in the qualifying campaign. Meanwhile, there are cameo appearances from Jess Fishlock and Rachel Rowe as the duo switch over from the women's senior team for the new kit launch, while Connor Roberts, Ethan Ampadu, Daniel James and Harry Wilson justify choosing careers in football over singing during the photo shoot.
Osian Roberts departure to Morocco is covered in this latest episode as Giggs discusses the contribution made by the former Technical Director to Welsh football, while the elevation of Rob Page from the U21 squad is confirmed ahead of the September qualifier against Azerbaijan and friendly against Belarus at the Cardiff City Stadium. “We've got a great record here,” said Giggs. “The players love playing here and we've always had fantastic support. It makes a difference.”
Heading into the final stages of the qualifying campaign with a tough trip to Slovakia and the hosting of group favourites Croatia, the emergence of Kieffer Moore becomes a key factor, while Aaron Ramsey remains an injury concern. “I've got a certain style depending on what players I've got,” the manager added. “But the principles remain the same. In defence I want to be compact, I want to be narrow, I want to be aggressive and win the ball back. When we're in possession, I want to play the ball quicker, and I want to see players running in behind.”
In this penultimate episode, results dictate that the EURO 2020 qualifying campaign will be decided by the remaining two games in the group, and the scene is set for Cyrmu to make history once again in the final episode of the series. “We need to win our two games and that's all we're concentrating on,” Giggs added. “It won't be easy, but we're capable of it.”