Ryan Giggs’ first competitive game as Wales manager ended in a thrilling 4-1 win over the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff.
Giggs, handed the Wales job in January and whose appointment was met with some scepticism, oversaw a performance described by the BBC as “daring, positive football and a blend of youth and experience.”
Former Manchester United youngster Tom Lawrence put Wales ahead early on before Gareth Bale doubled the lead with a sumptuous strike. Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey and Tyler Roberts then turned the scoreline into a rout either side of half time.
This was a resounding, highly-charged performance evocative of the direct and rapid performances Giggs himself used to give under the close watch of Sir Alex Ferguson many years ago.
Against a directionless Ireland team, Wales played with a mixture of vibrancy and composure. Veterans Ashley Williams, Joe Allen, Ramsey and Bale were complimented by youngsters like Chris Mepham (20), Ethan Ampadu (17) and David Brooks (21), who looked right at home playing for their country.
Many questioned whether the Wales job had come too soon for Giggs, whose only managerial experience was on a caretaker basis at United and then as an assistant to Louis van Gaal, but he has made the best start imaginable.