Robert Page says Ryan Giggs will be involved in Wales’ World Cup qualifiers

Phil Blanche, PA
·5-min read

Absent manager Ryan Giggs will be involved in Wales’ World Cup qualifiers, with caretaker boss Robert Page declaring that it is “business as usual”.

Giggs was arrested on suspicion of assaulting girlfriend Kate Greville at the start of November and missed Wales’ Nations League games later that month.

The 47-year-old former Manchester United winger, who denies the allegations and has had his bail extended until May 1, will again be missing from the camp as Wales open their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign next week in Belgium before hosting the Czech Republic in Cardiff.

Rob Page File Photo
Ryan Giggs’ assistant Robert Page will be in cartaker charge of Wales again after doing the role in November (Nick Potts/PA)

The Football Association of Wales said last week that Giggs would not be involved in the upcoming international camp. But Page confirmed that Giggs was part of the selection process of the 31-man squad for those two qualifiers and a Cardiff friendly with Mexico sandwiched in between.

Asked if Giggs had a played a part in selection and would continue to do so, Page said: “Absolutely, of course. Like he does every other camp.

“All the staff will have input, gather and have conversations about the opposition and the analysis. No different to regards to that.

“It’s the same as November. Business as usual. We’ve got three important games coming up, it’s a big camp for us and one we’re looking forward to.”

Wales are just 89 days away from their opening game at the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, against Switzerland in Baku.

But Page says he has had no dialogue with the FAW – who last week announced that chief executive Jonathan Ford will be leaving on March 31 after losing the confidence of the FAW Council – over who is likely to be in charge at the European Championships.

“Those conversations need to be done further down the road,” Page said.

Chelsea v Arsenal – UEFA Europa League – Final – Olympic Stadium
Wales start their Euro 2020 campaign in Baku’s Olympic Stadium in 89 days time (Steven Paston/PA)

“My main focus is on these three games and I’d rather not think about long-term yet.

“Get these games out of the way and after that we’ll assess the situation again no doubt, and whoever makes those decisions will make those decisions.

“It’s difficult for Ryan but we’ve got to make the focus is on the players. We’ve got to stay focused on the job in hand.”

On heading to the Azerbaijani capital amid the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, Page said plans should become clearer after the World Cup camp.

Republic of Ireland v Wales – UEFA Nations League – Group 4 – League B – Aviva Stadium
Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey is a fitness concern for Wales (Brian Lawless/PA)

He said: “We should know more after this camp if I’m being honest.

“We are probably 90 per cent certain that that will be the case. A little bit further down the line when restrictions have been eased again.”

Aaron Ramsey has been named in the squad, despite missing Juventus’ 3-1 win in Cagliari on Sunday and reports in Italy suggesting that he will be out for three weeks with a thigh injury.

Ramsey withdrawing from international duty has been a constant theme in the past two years – the former Arsenal midfielder has started only three of Wales’ last 20 games – and Page says they want to make their own assessment of the 30-year-old.

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“We are still investigating that,” Page said. “We would like to get him on camp and have eyes on him and assess him ourselves.

“That is an ongoing situation at the minute that we are assessing daily, but fingers crossed we will have him when we meet up on Sunday. We would like to have a look at him.

“He’s in the squad at the minute unless things develop overnight and become far worse than what we think and he is absolutely out of the 10 days, the three games.

“If things change like that, it’s out of our control.”

Wales v Hungary – UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying – Group E – Cardiff City Stadium
Joe Allen is back in the Wales squad for the first time since rupturing an Achilles tendon last March (Nick Potts/PA)

Stoke midfielder Joe Allen is included in a Wales squad for the first time since rupturing an Achilles tendon last March, and goalkeepers Wayne Hennessey and Adam Davies both return having missed the November camp through injury.

Hennessey, the 94-times capped number one, has not played since suffering a thigh injury during the Nations League win against Bulgaria in October.

West Brom striker Hal Robson-Kanu also returns to the squad after injury, but Bournemouth forward David Brooks is ruled out by an ankle problem.

Squad: W Hennessey (Crystal Palace), D Ward (Leicester), A Davies (Stoke), T King (Newport), C Gunter (Charlton), B Davies (Tottenham), C Roberts (Swansea), E Ampadu (Sheff Utd, on loan from Chelsea), C Mepham (Bournemouth), T Lockyer (Luton), J Rodon (Tottenham), J Lawrence (St Pauli), N Williams (Liverpool), R Norrington-Davies (Stoke, on loan from Sheff Utd), B Cabango Swansea), A Ramsey (Juventus), J Allen (Stoke), J Williams (Cardiff), H Wilson (Cardiff, on loan from Liverpool), D James (Man Utd), M Smith (Doncaster, on loan from Man City), J Morrell (Luton), D Levitt (NK Istra, on loan from Man Utd), B Johnson (Lincoln, on loan from Nottingham Forest), J Sheehan (Newport), G Bale (Tottenham, on loan from Real Madrid), H Robson-Kanu (West Brom), T Lawrence (Derby), K Moore (Cardiff), T Roberts (Leeds), R Matondo (Stoke, on loan from Schalke 04).