Ryan Giggs excited for Republic meeting and Roy Keane reunion
Ryan Giggs used to avoid Roy Keane on the Manchester United training ground but now he can not wait for their reunion on an international touchline.
Wales and the Republic of Ireland meet in the inaugural UEFA League of Nations this week and that Cardiff clash pits the two former United favourites against each other.
It promises to be a feisty affair with plenty of scores to settle after the two nations fought out a couple of ill-tempered World Cup qualifiers last year.
“We were in a team where there were fights every week,” said Wales boss Giggs, recalling his United days with the Republic’s current assistant manager.
“Hughes Schmeichel, Bruce, Ince, Keane, Cantona. There were fights every week in training… so I stood out on the left wing!
“It’s difficult to stand up to Roy because he is sharp.
“But Roy was an adopted member of the ‘Class of 92’, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as well. We all spent time together, were of a similar age and it was brilliant.”
Giggs spent a lot of time with Keane and Republic boss Martin O’Neill in Russia this summer.
The trio worked as World Cup pundits with the same television station, but Giggs said they stayed clear of talking about their three-team League of Nations group which also features Denmark.
“We didn’t really talk too much about the games,” Giggs said.
“We were out most nights together and Martin and Roy are great company.
“Roy is just like me, he is competitive, and he will want to win.
“They are two people who I respect immensely and are good football people, but for 90 minutes that friendship will be forgotten.”
The Republic ended Wales’ World Cup dream with a 1-0 win in Cardiff last October before losing in the play-offs to Denmark.
Giggs took over his first senior managerial role in January when he was appointed Chris Coleman’s successor.
But the Ireland game on Thursday will be his first on home soil after playing three friendlies in China and the United States.
“There will be a few nerves, I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t,” said Giggs, whose side travel to Denmark three days later.
“But that is good. I always had a few nerves as a player and I’m more excited really.
“It is more about me preparing right up until the game. That is what I intend to do, then once the game starts there is not a lot that you can do.
“You can do team talks and substitutions but the majority of the work is done in the preparation even before you get to camp. But I can’t wait.”