Ryan Giggs sought the advice of Sir Alex Ferguson before agreeing to succeed Chris Coleman as Wales manager, with the former Manchester United winger confident he can secure a first World Cup qualification since 1958 in his first permanent managerial appointment.
Giggs, who has been away from coaching since leaving his post as United’s assistant manager in June 2016 after the arrival of José Mourinho, has signed a four-year contract with the Football Association of Wales (FAW) to take charge of the forthcoming qualification campaign for the European Championships and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The 44-year-old saw off competition from Craig Bellamy, Mark Bowen, and Coleman’s former assistant, Osian Roberts, with the FAW chief executive, Jonathan Ford, admitting he had been encouraged by his “passion and dedication” in Thursday’s interview. Giggs admitted that he had consulted Ferguson before taking the job, but insisted he intended to follow his own path in management.
“I’d be stupid not to. He’s one of the greatest managers if not the greatest manager than has ever lived so yes I’ve spoken to him over the last 24 hours and will speak to him again in more depth,” he said. “But I also want to be my own manager. I’ll take bits from managers that I’ve worked under at club level and international level but I’m my own person.”
Giggs has yet to name his backroom staff but hinted that Roberts could be offered a role. Having spent the best part of 18 months out of the game, he admitted that he was “itching” to return but insisted criticism of his appointment could only be answered by building on the efforts of Coleman’s side that reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
“I’m not on social media so I haven’t seen much of the criticism,” he said. “This is probably the proudest moment of my life to lead the Welsh nation into the next four years with the Euros and then the World Cup. We haven’t been at a World Cup since 1958 and I want to get this group of players there and be a part of it.”
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