Ryan Giggs keen to take in Old Firm semi-final
Ryan Giggs asked about Old Firm games and even inquired about getting tickets when he spoke to Rangers’ left back Declan John during the international break.
John played from the start against China and Uruguay as Giggs began his reign as manager of Wales. It was at the airport as they prepared to fly home from the China Cup tournament that the Manchester United legend asked John what it was like to play in the Glasgow derby.
“The manager was asking me about Old Firm games,” said the 22-year-old. “He was asking about tickets and dates, as he wants to come and watch one of them. It’s always good to have a manager who takes an interest and wants to come and see you play.
“He asked me about the last Old Firm game, how it went and what it was like to play in that atmosphere. The manager was really interested and I told him it was tremendous and that I hadn’t experienced anything like it before. We have the two games coming up and I think I’ll try to get him tickets for the semi-final at Hampden.
“I used to support Man United as a kid and to be working under him as a manager was a great thing for me. At times, you do need to forget that it’s Ryan Giggs speaking to you.”
John made his Welsh debut in 2013 but had fallen out of the international scene while he was with Cardiff City, only to return and earn his third and fourth caps after joining Rangers. “I need to thank Rangers for my call-up,” he said. “I don’t think it would have happened so early had I been at Cardiff. The manager said the main reason that I am in the squad is because I am playing games up here.”
Wales now have a manager who can match his star player for stardom but, in China, neither Giggs nor Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale were the prime attraction as far as some local supporters were concerned.
Step forward, for some inexplicable reason, Reading full back Chris Gunter. “We were a bit restricted to the hotel as the fans were a bit crazy over there,” said John. “They especially loved Chris Gunter for some reason. I don’t know why, but he is massive over there. We arrived on a couple of different flights and when Chris came off the plane there was a big song about him. I was on the other flight but I wish I’d seen the buzz about him. Me? I managed to stay under the radar.”