Ryan Giggs recognises Aaron Ramsey desire to succeed for Wales
IF anyone knew what Aaron Ramsey was going through then that man was suited in the Sky studio rather than booted down below.
Hailed as a saviour for your country is old hat to Ryan Giggs, the Manchester United veteran having carried that baggage since making his international debut as a precocious 17-year-old in Nuremburg way back in 1991.
So Giggs knew what Ramsey was going through as he tried to coax and cajole Wales back into an unfair contest against vastly superior opponents.
What should be the right option becomes increasingly ignored as you feel the weight of being your country’s best player on sagging shoulders.
Perhaps it should be coined the ‘Giggs Syndrome’ after two decades when the Cardiff-born winger tried to drag Wales up – often from the bootlaces – to qualify for a major finals.
So no wonder there was a knowing glint in Giggs’ eyes when he was asked how Wales’ youngest-ever captain had performed on his big day.
“He will be disappointed, the first time you captain your country you want to put on a good performance and you want to win,” Giggs said of the 20-year-old Arsenal midfielder.
“At times he was probably trying too hard and he was frustrated. We needed to push up the park 40 yards.
“But Aaron was sometimes getting the ball off the goalkeeper or the centre-halves and really we wanted him doing what Jack Wilshere was doing sometimes, turning onto the Welsh defence and threading passes through.
“The second half he did that. He was turning onto the back four, threading passes through, getting a shot off and really hurting.”
Giggs – who declined new boss Speed’s invitation to resume a Wales career he ended in 2007 after 64 caps – said he took heart from a second-half showing when England did not have it all their own way.
“It was a struggle for every Welsh player, but in the second half they did a lot better,” he said.
“At 2-0 I was fearing the worst, if I’m being honest. But in the second half we probably looked the more likely side to score.
“We didn’t have any brilliant chances, but we were getting shots off and we were causing England a few problems.
“If we’d started the game the way we ended it, it could have been a slightly different story.
“Wales didn’t really recover, England got the second goal and it looked like the Welsh team were really in shock.
“That’s when you need experienced players to rally around because, when the first goal goes in after seven minutes, there’s plenty of time to get back into the game.
“I felt we did that in the second half. It was as if the pressure had gone and the reins were taken off.”
Ramsey knows he will have better days as Wales captain and, while bemoaning the state of the “sticky” Millennium Stadium pitch, he admitted that he struggled to leave his mark on the game.
“It was a very disappointing result for us and personally I couldn’t get going,” said Ramsey, making his first Wales appearance since the horrific broken leg he suffered at Stoke 13 months ago.
“Obviously we had a slow start to the game and they scored two goals – it was a mountain to climb from there.
“They caught us in the first 15 minutes and maybe that was us trying our new approach to the game.
“We need to start the game stronger next time and create more opportunities on a more consistent basis.”
Wales are still without a point with half their Euro 2012 qualifying completed and remain rooted to the bottom of Group G.
But Ramsey said: “Our aim now is to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
“This is a stepping stone and we will continue to progress and hopefully we can become a successful side,” said Ramsey, who paid tribute to the Welsh fans for their support.
“It was a great occasion (to lead the side for the first time) although the result has put a downer on it, but we’ll bounce back.”