Ryan Giggs' faith in Wales youngsters is 'music to the ears' of U21 boss Rob Page

Ryan Giggs' faith in Wales' youngsters should be "music to the ears" of fans, says Under-21 boss Rob Page.
 
Wales manager Giggs gave senior debuts to Manchester City midfielder Matt Smith, 18, and 21-year-old Leicester forward George Thomas in Tuesday's 0-0 friendly draw with Mexico in the USA.
 
Brentford defender Chris Mepham, 20, also impressed in his first start.
 
"He's (Giggs) 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."
 
Giggs - once Wales' youngest player having made his 1991 debut as a 17-year-old - has given five players their first appearances for Wales in his three games since replacing Chris Coleman as national manager, while also giving Liverpool's 21-year-old winger Harry Wilson a first start.
 
It came after Coleman marked the end of his tenure by offering first opportunities to Liverpool forward Ben Woodburn (18), Chelsea defender Ethan Ampadu (17) and Sheffield United midfielder David Brooks (20).
 
The hope within Welsh football is that a second 'golden generation' is on the horizon - the label given to the Gareth Bale-inspired team that reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
 
"Time will tell (if they can match that)," said Page. "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."
 

Mepham move imminent?

Giggs invited six Under-21 players to a senior training camp and told them to seize their chance, going on to include Thomas and Smith in the squad that travelled to face Mexico at the expense of established players such as Hal Robson-Kanu.
 
"The message to my players is that the evidence is there," said Page, who takes his Under-21 team to Georgia for two friendly fixtures on 3 and 6 June in Tbilisi.
 
"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."
 
Page admits to having pride in seeing age-grade players such as Mepham given their senior chance, and fully expects top-flight interest in the centre-back who has been previously targeted by Bournemouth.
 
"He is (destined for the top) and he will get there," Page added. "He's got ability in abundance. He ticks a lot of boxes and it's why he's proving to be a centre-half that a lot of clubs want."
  • Related keywords: Ryan Giggs, Rob Page, Wales, Chris Mepham
  • Advertisement
    Advertisement
    Awwwards