Ryan Giggs represented Cymru on 64 occasions during his illustrious playing career. Although he enjoyed unparalleled success in the colours of Manchester United, qualifying for the finals of a major tournament with his country eluded him.
In January 2018, Giggs was appointed Cymru manager, succeeding Chris Coleman with the remit of leading the national team to UEFA EURO 2020 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. With qualification for the EURO finals next summer confirmed, this new and exclusive behind the scenes five-part documentary reflects on the journey that Giggs has been on as the manager of the national team.
Having experienced his first taste of international management with fixtures against China, Uruguay and Mexico in the first half of 2018, the next challenge for Ryan Giggs would be to lead his Cymru side into the new UEFA Nations League that began in September.
Cymru were drawn against the Republic of Ireland and Denmark in the inaugural series of the competition, with the opening match taking place against Ireland in Cardiff. “It's my first managerial game in my home town,” said Giggs. “Yes, I'm nervous, but I'm excited. It's a new competition. If you look at all the groups they're really competitive. The proper stuff starts now and I'm excited.”
Our cameras follow the team behind the scenes throughout the competition, as the new-look and youthful squad find their feet in the unforgiving environment of the senior international game. The highs and lows are documented from within the training ground and the down time as the new players enjoy their elevated status, and the senior figures adapt to the methods of the new manager and his staff.
“I believe in giving young players a chance,” Giggs added. “I had that chance. You give players a chance, and it's up to them then to take it. It's quite intense and it's still a learning curve for me. You can do all the coaching badges in the world but you can't beat experience on the job. Things will always come up that you haven't encountered before, and you have to think on your feet.”
In addition to the Nations League fixtures, this second episode also includes the friendly fixture against Albania when defender Chris Gunter became the most-capped player in the history of the men's national team. Gunter eclipsed the previous record set by Neville Southall as he captained the team on his 93rd appearance for his country.