Belfast Telegraph

Giggs looking forward to tests against some old friends

By Daniel McDonnell

Ryan Giggs caught up with his old pal Roy Keane for a coffee yesterday morning. And the rookie Welsh boss was also joined at the breakfast table by Martin O'Neill who offered some friendly advice on management.

They will meet again sooner than they might have anticipated after the Uefa Nations League draw ensured that Giggs and O'Neill will lock horns later this year.

Giggs' first meaningful game in charge will be the visit of the Republic of Ireland to Cardiff on September 6 - with the return pencilled in for a month later in Dublin.

While the Republic have an incentive to get one over on Denmark, the sight of the Irish brings back painful memories for Wales after James McClean's winner last in October ended their Russian hopes.

There was a theme of reunions that hung over proceedings in Switzerland and Giggs was aware of it. His morning discussion with Keane was only the starter.

"I know them both well," said Giggs.

"Especially Roy. We had a coffee this morning at breakfast and I'm looking forward to pitting my brains against them both; they are tremendous football people.

"As a player, Roy was outstanding. If I was ever to pick a team, Roy would be the first on the teamsheet because of what he brought - not just on the pitch but off the pitch - his winning mentality, his quality.

"Off the pitch, he's someone who helps younger players and he drives the older players if they're not pulling their weight. And he'll take that into his coaching too. Martin is a football man who has been so successful in his managing career and playing career

"We did speak about (potential draw). There was a big chance we'd get either the Northern Ireland or the Republic. We're drawn against players we know, a country we played recently and had disappointment against. There's a lot of analysis we need to do before that.

"I wasn't part of that (October) but I watched the game. The players were disappointed. I don't know about revenge but you don't often get a chance to play teams again so quickly at international football so there's a chance to get a better result.

"It's two teams who know each other well, two coaches who know each other well, and Roy as well."

Belfast Telegraph

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