Robert Page to make Wales decisions after replacing Ryan Giggs for Euro 2020

Page said he had been in touch with Giggs.
Robert Page to make Wales decisions after replacing Ryan Giggs for Euro 2020

By Mark Walker, PA

Wales caretaker boss Robert Page says he has taken full control of the national team’s preparations for Euro 2020 in the absence of manager Ryan Giggs.

Giggs stepped back from his role in November and is due to appear at Manchester Crown Court on May 26 after being charged with assaulting two women and controlling or coercive behaviour. He denies the charges.

Page said: “Of course they’re difficult circumstances, there’s no hiding away from that, but it is what it is, the situation we’ve been put in, so we’re dealing with it in the best way possible.

Page has won four of his six games in charge since taking on the caretaker role in November
Page has won four of his six games in charge since taking on the caretaker role in November (Nick Potts/PA)

“The previous two camps the boys have reacted in a positive way, they’ve not been affected by it whatsoever and I think common sense prevails and it’s a continuity that the players want as well.”

Page said he had been in touch with Giggs, who has missed the last two training camps in November and March, and the former Manchester United winger has offered his support from a distance.

“It’s great to hear that, but ultimately now the decisions moving forward will be from myself and (coaches) Albert (Stuivenberg) and Tony Strudwick, Tony Roberts and the collective as a group,” Page said.

When asked if Giggs would have any involvement leading up to the tournament, Page said: “No. I had a great conversation with Ryan last week.

Ryan Giggs, centre, has denied charges of assaulting two women and controlling or coercive behaviour
Ryan Giggs, centre, has denied charges of assaulting two women and controlling or coercive behaviour (Peter Byrne/PA)

“Obviously we’ve been in touch. You don’t go from being friends and work colleagues, working in a close environment, to then not speaking.”

Page added:  “Of course I will speak with him. He wants what’s best for Wales. Yes, with regards to decisions and finalising things, that will be me.

“But what Ryan has said is that if I need any advice or I need a different perspective on things, then he’s always going to be there. He wants what’s best for Wales as well.”

Page, who has won four of his six games in charge with the only defeat coming against Belgium, said he had added former Wales assistant boss Kit Symons to his coaching staff.

Kit Symons, second right, was assistant to former Wales boss Chris Coleman at Euro 2016
Kit Symons, second right, was assistant to former Wales boss Chris Coleman at Euro 2016 (Nick Potts/PA)

“We’re a coach down, so I made a decision to bring Kit Symons back in,” Page said. “Kit’s got a wealth of experience. He was part of the 2016 (Euros) success with (former manager) Chris Coleman.

“It’s a positive move for us. Not only for the staff and players who know him but for coaches who haven’t worked with him, he gives a different dynamic and first and foremost he’s a good bloke.”

Page welcomed UEFA’s decision this week to allow 26-man squads for Euro 2020 instead of the usual 23 and that it would help over his decision to include Ben Davies and Joe Allen in his plans as they work their way back from injury.

Former Watford and Sheffield United defender Page, Wales Under-21s manager before being appointed as Giggs’ assistant in August 2019, said leading his country at Euro 2020 would be the pinnacle of his football career.

“Absolutely, yes,” he added. “It’s phenomenal. It’s a dream come true. I spoke to Ryan and we want what’s best for Wales, we absolutely do.

“It’s the right thing to do. Everyone has got clarity on what we’re doing and where we’re going.”

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