Ryan Giggs reveals Gareth Southgate chat helped set up England-Wales friendly

Ryan Giggs has revealed how Gareth Southgate jumped at his idea of a friendly between England and Wales.

The two nations meet on October 8 for the first time since England won a Euro 2016 ‘Battle of Britain’ clash 2-1 in Lens.

The behind-closed-doors Wembley friendly will allow England boss Southgate to prepare for Nations League home games Belgium and Denmark, while Wales remain on the road with trips to the Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria.

Ryan Giggs File Photo
Ryan Giggs File Photo

“I did a thing with Gareth for BT and I just mentioned a friendly game then,” Giggs told the PA news agency.

“He was up for it because he thought it would be a good test for them as well as for us.

“It was an easy game to get organised and we’ve both got two Nations League games after that, so it will stand us in good stead.”

Euro 2020-bound Wales head to Wembley in buoyant mood after September wins over Finland and Bulgaria took them to the top of their Nations League group and extended their unbeaten run to eight games.

But Gareth Bale could miss out with the injury he picked up on international duty last month and one that has delayed his second Tottenham debut following his loan move from Real Madrid.

David Brooks and Joe Morrell are also fitness concerns and Giggs has a decision to make over Euro 2016 veterans Ashley Williams and Chris Gunter.

Giggs named the pair in his September squad, but they both remain without clubs following their respective summer departures from Bristol City and Reading.

Aberdeen winger Ryan Hedges, Luton full-back Rhys Norrington-Davies and Hibernian striker Christian Doidge are all hoping for call-ups into what could be an extended squad.

Wales v Bulgaria – UEFA Nations League – Group 4 – League B – Cardiff City Stadium
Wales v Bulgaria – UEFA Nations League – Group 4 – League B – Cardiff City Stadium

“It will be a great experience for the players to play at Wembley against a very good team,” said Giggs, speaking at the relaunch of the McDonald’s Fun Football programme which will see the company provide over five million hours of free football to five-to-11-year-olds by 2022.

“There’ll be a lot of juggling as you can make more subs in a friendly game.

“But that will help us before our Nations League games.”

England and Wales have met 102 times with the first fixture ending in a 2-1 win for the Three Lions at Kennington Oval in 1879.

Wales’ last victory came during the final British Home Championship in 1984 when the debut-making Mark Hughes gave the Dragons a 1-0 win at Wrexham.

SOCCER Wales 24
SOCCER Wales 24

England have won the five games since with Giggs twice on losing Wales sides in 2006 World Cup qualification.

“My memories are not great ones because we didn’t win the games,” Giggs said.

“But you remember the build-up and what a huge game it is for the players, the fans and for the country as a whole.

“That will be the case again, it always is. It doesn’t matter what the sport is, Wales v England is a passionate affair.”

:: Wales manager Ryan Giggs was relaunching McDonald’s Fun Football programme, which offers fun, free and safe football sessions for children age 5-11. To find your nearest Fun Football Centre and to sign up for a session, go to: www.mcdonalds.co.uk/football