Former Newport County star Regan Poole happy to be on Wales boss Ryan Giggs' radar
NEWPORT County AFC academy graduate Regan Poole is delighted that new Wales manager Ryan Giggs has shown he is prepared to give youth a chance.
Poole was one of nine uncapped youngsters called up for a training squad ahead of this week’s friendly against Mexico in the USA.
The 19-year-old did not make the cut when Giggs trimmed his squad before flying out to Los Angeles but he is happy to be on the national manager’s radar.
“It was a really good experience,” said Poole, who left County for Manchester United in 2015.
“There were six or seven under-21s there and it was a good opportunity to show what we can do.
“The aim was to get onto the Mexico trip. It happened for some of us and not for others but it looks like there’s a really good pathway into the first team.
“Some of us are only 19 or 20 and we’ve still got a couple of years at under-21 level to keep showing what we can do.
“But he [Giggs] has shown he’s not afraid to fast-track some of the players into the first team and it’s really looking good.”
Poole (above) has returned to the Wales under-21 squad this week ahead of two friendlies against Georgia in Tbilisi on Sunday and Wednesday.
Under-21 manager Robert Page is also pleased that Giggs has given so many young players a chance to impress.
Giggs, who was Wales' youngest player when he made his debut as a 17-year-old in 1991, has given five players their first appearances for Wales in his three games since replacing Chris Coleman as national manager.
“He's absolutely on board and pro-youth and he's proven that," said former Wales international Page.
"Within 24 hours of him being appointed he was on the phone to me talking about the young lads, so he definitely wants to improve, encourage the system we have and show that pathway.
"It's music to my ears and should be to every other Wales fan.
“The message to my players is that the evidence is there," he added.
"Go out and train like you want to make an impression, so that when Ryan phones me you're the one I'm talking about."
Giggs’ predecessor Coleman gave debuts to Ben Woodburn, aged 18, Chelsea defender Ethan Ampadu aged 17, and 20-year-old Sheffield United midfielder David Brooks, as well as his 23-year-old Blades teammate Lee Evans – another Exiles academy graduate.
Can the current crop become a second 'golden generation' and match the Gareth Bale-inspired team that reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016?
"Time will tell,” Page told BBC Wales Sport. "But I know there is a good group coming through who individually will excel and push to get in that first team.
"If you kept them [in their age group team] they would compete against the best in the world. There is fantastic talent coming through."