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Ryan Giggs not surprised to be...
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Ryan Giggs not surprised to be paired with familiar Irish foes again

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

16:23 4 Mar 2020

Ryan Giggs was not surprised to see his Wales team drawn in the same UEFA Nations League group as familiar foes, Republic of Ireland.

The two Celtic nations met in the last Nations League campaign and in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and they have been paired with Bulgaria and Finland this time out.

Giggs was only in charge for the most recent meetings in the Nations League and he wasn't surprised to see them drawn in the same group again.

"Obviously the Republic of Ireland stand out," Giggs told Sky Sports. "We've met them many times recently so we both know plenty about each other.

"It's exciting. Finland, a team that has just qualified for a major championship for the first time so a team on the up.

"The way the draw was, we were bound to get either the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland or Scotland. I'm not too surprised!"

Ireland were beaten 1-0 in the most recent meeting of the sides in Dublin, a couple of months after a 4-1 hammering in Cardiff which was the beginning of the end for ex-Ireland boss Martin O'Neill.

However, O'Neill's Boys in Green did take four points from the Welsh in the World Cup qualifiers with a draw in Dublin and a famous 1-0 win in Cardiff.

While there are a lot of young Welsh players progressing well, such as Harry Wilson, Ethan Ampadu and Daniel James, Gareth Bale is still their key man.

The Real Madrid winger has struggled to get a run of games but his national boss is happy enough with his form.

"He's done okay this season, Gareth, regarding games," added Giggs. "Obviously the last couple of weeks he hasn't featured but, yeah the hope is for every player that they get enough games.

"There's always that balance that you don't want them playing too many games but you want them playing games as well so they come into the summer fresh."

It could be a big summer for Giggs and his players as they gear up for Euro 2020.

Wales are in a tough group with Italy, Switzerland and Turkey and Giggs has said he is keeping tabs on the coronavirus situation with the game against the Azzurri taking place in Rome.

"That's a long way away," said Giggs. "We hope that the issue has been sorted by then. My immediate thoughts are on the two [friendlies] in March and hopefully there'll be no problems regarding them."

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