Giggs: Standard has been set

Wales manager Ryan Giggs has expressed pride in his players after soundly beating the Republic of Ireland in their UEFA Nations League opener on Thursday.

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First-half goals from Tom Lawrence, Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey put the hosts in command at the Cardiff City Stadium, before Connor Roberts sealed a 4-1 win 10 minutes after the restart, with Shaun Williams having pulled one back for Martin O’Neill’s side midway through the second half.

It was Giggs’ first real test since being appointed Chris Coleman’s successor in January, after three friendly outings earlier this year, and he has challenged the team to maintain the high standard they set against the Irish. who suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time under O’Neill.

“The lads were magnificent, some brilliant goals and great football. I can’t be much happier,” the Welsh icon told Sky Sports. “At the start of the season, it’s about juggling players who are playing regularly with match rhythm with a balance of experience and bringing young players in.

“They’ve set the standard and need to stay there. I did enjoy the performance and the goals but you always think you can do better, there were mistakes to work on, but I am extremely happy and proud.”

While Bale impressed for the Dragons and scored an exquisite goal on 18 minutes, Giggs reserved special praise for Ethan Ampadu following an outstanding display from the Chelsea teenager.

“Ethan is a talented player,” Giggs added. “Even more so than that, as a person, he is so balanced, so mature, for such a young player – he’s going to be magnificent.”