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Giggs hopes Schmeichel can focus on football on return to Cardiff

Wales and Denmark meet in a crunch Nations League clash in Cardiff on Friday.

Ryan Giggs hopes Kasper Schmeichel is able to focus on football after the Leicester helicopter tragedy as the Denmark goalkeeper prepares to make a poignant return to Cardiff.

Schmeichel witnessed the crash that claimed the lives of Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others outside the King Power Stadium last month.

The 32-year-old was close to Srivaddhanaprabha and said he would be forever haunted by the accident.

Leicester’s first game after the tragedy was an emotional 1-0 win at Cardiff, and Schmeichel returns to the ground this week for the crunch Nations League tie between Wales and Denmark.

“I’ve known Kasper since he was a baby,” said Wales manager Giggs, a former Manchester United team-mate of Schmeichel’s father Peter.

“He showed what class he’s got over the last few weeks and it’s obviously affected him deeply.

“There was a lot of respect for the owner and it’s difficult. It’s horrendous what happened, not only for the Leicester players but everyone in football.”

Giggs and Schmeichel will be in rival camps at the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday when victory for either side would see them top the group.

Wales took over top spot last month by beating the Republic of Ireland 1-0 in Dublin last month, despite being without star men Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.

A draw would leave Denmark needing to beat the Republic in their final game in Aarhus to secure promotion to the top tier of the Nations League.

“You don’t know how different players will react to it,” Giggs said when asked how Schmeichel would cope with the events of the last few weeks.

“Some will, not forget about it, but just go through it and concentrate on the football.

“But it could affect others for a long time, that’s just the different individuals involved. Every one reacts in different ways.”

Giggs also confirmed that he would speak to his own midfielder Andy King this week.

King, along with Schmeichel and the rest of the Leicester squad, travelled to Thailand last week to attend Srivaddhanaprabha’s funeral in Bangkok.

“I really like Andy as a bloke and I know he will have been deeply affected by what happened,” Giggs said.

“I will speak to him to see how he is. He really shored things up and brought that experience when he came on against Ireland.

“Even though he’s not playing regularly, it showed me he can still have an impact and be a big part of the team on the pitch.”

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