Ryan Giggs: Manchester United legend named Wales manager

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'Proud' Wales boss Giggs was 'itching' to return to football

Ryan Giggs has been appointed Wales manager on a four-year contract.

The 44-year-old former Manchester United winger succeeds Chris Coleman, who left for Sunderland in November.

Coleman's assistant Osian Roberts, former Wales striker Craig Bellamy and Mark Bowen were also interviewed.

Giggs had long been a target for the Football Association of Wales (FAW) and was the favourite for the role once Coleman departed after Wales failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

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'I can't wait to start' - Giggs

The FAW confirmed the appointment on social media and in a statement Giggs said: "I am so proud to have been given the honour of managing the national team.

"The challenges that we have ahead of us with the Nations League and qualification for Uefa Euro 2020 excite me a great deal.

"I can't wait to start working with the players as we prepare for those crucial games later in the year."

FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford said: "With his vast amount of experience having played, coached and managed the biggest club in the world, we are confident of a successful future for our national team."

'Ferguson to blame for Giggs' lack of Wales friendlies'

Giggs won 64 caps between 1991 and 2007 and captained his country - but he was criticised for regularly pulling out of squads and especially for missing friendly matches.

Before Giggs' appointment former team-mate Clayton Blackmore told BBC Sport Wales their former boss Sir Alex Ferguson had been responsible for the no-shows.

The Manchester United great was in caretaker charge of the Red Devils for four games at the end of the 2013-14 season following the sacking of David Moyes.

He spent the next two seasons as Louis van Gaal's assistant, but left after Jose Mourinho was appointed manager at Old Trafford.

Losing out to Bradley at Swansea

Giggs lost out on the Swansea job to Bob Bradley after being interviewed for the manager's role at the Liberty Stadium in October 2016.

It is understood Bellamy and Roberts, who is the FAW's technical director, also had their supporters at Welsh football's governing body.

Bellamy, 38, won 78 caps and is the country's fourth most-capped player.

The former Newcastle, Liverpool and Blackburn forward is currently an academy coach at Cardiff City, where he ended his playing career in 2014.

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Alan Shearer to Ryan Giggs: Good luck getting Wales players to friendlies

Roberts has worked throughout all age grades in the Welsh system and been widely credited for helping to produce the talented crop of youngsters who will be at the disposal of the new senior manager and was Coleman's assistant boss during a spell in which Wales reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

Tony Pulis was also among the initial contenders to succeed Coleman, but he ruled himself out when he became Middlesbrough manager last month.

Bowen was available after leaving Stoke, where he was assistant to boss Mark Hughes until the latter was sacked by the Potters on 6 January.

BBC Sport Wales' Rob Phillips' view

So Wales finally have their man.

Its long been an ambition for many of the Football Association of Wales hierarchy to appoint Giggs to the top job.

They craved him ahead of going for Gary Speed and Chris Coleman when the position was vacant in the past.

Now he is at the helm, the FAW will have to lead a charm offensive to ensure the famous motto #TogetherStronger remains relevant.

Make no mistake, this is a divisive appointment.

There is a vociferous body of Wales fans - including a hard-core section who spend thousands of pounds travelling to support their country - who will have to be won over.

They cite a perceived lack of commitment given Giggs' record as a player for being absent for friendlies.

Ryan Giggs inherits a talented Wales squad with players such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey at his disposal
Ryan Giggs inherits a talented Wales squad with players such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey at his disposal

Welsh internationals who shared a dressing room with him at the time have never doubted the passion he held for playing for his country. But perceptions are hard to eradicate.

Neither Speed nor Coleman were universally welcomed when they became Wales manager. Coleman's results and ultimate qualification for Euro 2016 finals ensured his elevation to Welsh national treasure.

They did not, however, face as much hostility on their appointment.

Giggs is a Manchester United legend. That seems to explain some of the ferocity against him as United are loved by their fans - loathed by others.

He inherits a squad of great talents with stellar players such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey still at the age where they can be decisive forces at international level.

The future also looks bright in the hands of Ethan Ampadu and Ben Woodburn.

Giggs may lack coaching experience but will command respect as soon as he walks in the dressing room.

His medal haul goes before him and he is one of the finest talents in Wales' sporting history.

To some fans of the national team he is admired, rather than loved - now he must win hearts too.

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