Ryan Giggs: Wales boss ready for player ‘juggling act’

Ryan Giggs
Ryan Giggs succeeded Chris Coleman as Wales manager

Wales manager Ryan Giggs says managing players in what is set to be a frantic season will be “a juggling act”.

Some Wales players could potentially be expected to play three games a week all season in a campaign condensed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Giggs also has the concern that key stars Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey might not get enough match minutes as they are out of favour at their clubs.

“It’s why we need a big pool of players to choose from,” Giggs explained.

The Premier League has scrapped its winter break for the 2020-21 season because of fixture congestion resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

The upcoming campaign will be five weeks shorter than a standard season because of the late end to 2019-20.

Ahead of Nation’s League games against Finland and Bulgaria in September and in a season where Wales are preparing for the delayed Euro 2020 tournament next summer, Giggs admits it is set to be a challenging campaign.

“We will just have to monitor it. It is a juggling act with some players playing too much and some not enough, but in my experience that’s always been the case since I took over,” he told BBC Sport Wales.

“It’s why we want two players for each position at least.

“If one of them is missing or if one has played so many games he might have to sit one out, we want players to be able to come in and you don’t lose much.

“Some players like that rhythm that they are getting to, play a game, recover, play a game, recover.

“Other players not so much, especially if you are not playing regularly and when you come into a game where you have not played for a while.”

The international schedule will do little to ease the burden on players in what is set to be a packed season.

Wales alone have seven games scheduled before December, with a friendly against England lined-up before two Nations League games in October and a Nations League double-header in November.

A rearranged friendly against the United States has also been mooted.

It will mean Giggs, who was criticised in his playing career for being unavailable for Wales friendlies, needs to liaise closely with club managers.

“We have good communication with the clubs and make sure we look after the players as much as we can,” he added.

“If there’s any risk we have to take careful consideration in terms of how many games the players have played and what’s their injury record.

“It’s not something we will get right all the time. Sometimes there is a calculated gamble in there.

“We definitely do our best to look after the players’ welfare. We want to win games, but we also recognise we want players fit for the summer and making sure we don’t take any chances that players are going to get injuries.

“We definitely try to do our best in regard to the training load, playing and looking after the players and making sure we are fair to the clubs.”

However, Giggs admits it is possible in a long campaign that he could clash with club managers over player availability.

“My job is to make sure Wales win games so it’s always a bit of a balance,” he said.

“You try to strike up the best relationship going forward.

I’m sure I will do things that will upset the club managers and vice-versa, but that comes with the territory. You try and just negate that as much as you can.”

BBC News