19th October 2018

INTERNATIONALS NEW ERA FOR WALES

NEW ERA FOR WALES

6th September 2018

Ryan Giigs era as manger finally kicks-off at home as Wales face Ireland - who effectively knocked them out of the last World Cup qualification Group back in October.

The game in Cardiff sees Wales firm odds-on favourites.

Giggs' three games in charge - a 6-0 win over China, a 1-0 defeat by Uruguay and a 0-0 draw with Mexico - have not made it obvious how his new Wales will set up, even if he has talked about encouraging players to express themselves.

Yet his limited time in charge has quickly prompted an awareness that a new era could bring new stars and old heroes having to watch their back.

Before he left, Coleman capped a string of youngsters such as Ethan Ampadu, David Brooks and Ben Woodburn, something Giggs has followed up by making plain his own faith in bringing through talent.

West Brom striker Hal Robson-Kanu is among those to have stood down, Aston Villa defender Neil Taylor has been omitted, while record cap holder, 29-year-old Reading defender Chris Gunter, is being asked questions of his place by the form of Swansea City's Connor Roberts.

"I've got a good balance between players who have done so much but I want it to be competitive, young players to push experienced players," says Giggs. " I was a young player who had a chance but I also played until I was 40, so age doesn't matter.

"We have the older players to show the way, show what it's about on the international stage.

"But young players have given us that freshness and we have players looking over their shoulder having been given a push. I wanted that competitive edge because competition is good, and it's about whether you rise to that competition or you fall by the wayside."

The Republic of Ireland will be without winger James McClean for this opening Nations League match.

Robbie Brady, James McCarthy, Shane Long, Sean Maguire, Scott Hogan and Alan Browne are also missing through injury, the latter with a calf problem.

Despite the weaker squad, experience and history suggest the Irish are over-priced at 19/4. They have a good recent record against the Welsh who are still smarting from the 1-0 smash and grab in October.

the nations League is not the Wolrd Cup but it is still a competitive game and Martin O'Neil and his no 2 Roy Keane will not want to lose to the Rookie Giggs.

Joe