Ryan Giggs: Age irrelevant when choosing future teams

Wales' Ethan Ampadu, Connor Roberts and David Brooks
Wales' Ethan Ampadu, Connor Roberts and David Brooks all made their competitive international debuts against the Republic of Ireland

Wales manager Ryan Giggs insists age and experience will be an irrelevance when it comes to his team.

Wales started a number of youngsters - including 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu - in their convincing 4-1 Nations League win against the Republic of Ireland.

Chelsea midfielder Ampadu impressed throughout while Swansea youngster Connor Roberts scored Wales' fourth.

"Age doesn't really matter to me," said Giggs, following a display he called "magnificent".

Giggs spoke before the game of wanting his established stars to be pushed by a new wave of Welsh talent.

"I'm lucky in the respect that I've got a really good balance," said Giggs, whose side now face a full-strength Denmark on Sunday.

"Me as a player, I got a chance as a young player but also I played until 40, so I can see both sides of the coin.

"Age doesn't really matter to me. What I had when I was younger was really good professionals in the dressing room and they helped me, and that's the same here.

"I've got a good balance, not only here tonight but in the squad, of experienced players and young players."

David Brooks, Chris Mepham, Tyler Roberts, Matt Smith, Roberts and Ampadu, who all featured against the Republic of Ireland, are all 22-years-old or younger.

It was not just the rookies who impressed, as the blend of youth and experience Giggs eluded to showed its promise at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey both added another goal to their respective Wales tallies, while Joe Allen controlled the game from midfield, providing the assist for Tom Lawrence's opener.

Experienced players have helped us

Wales midfielder Ethan Ampadu
Wales midfielder Ethan Ampadu was one of five players who committed their future to Wales by playing against the Republic of Ireland

Wales' stand-out performance against the Republic of Ireland came from the youngest player on the park in Ampadu.

The teenager looked confident and composed on the ball from the first minute, as if he'd been playing international football all his life.

To add the cherry on top, Ampadu became the first player born in the 21st century to register an assist for Wales when he played Ramsey through for the host's third goal of the night.

"The main thing was to get the win, obviously it was the first home game with the manager and my first time under him," said Ampadu.

"It was good to get the win and show the fans what we are trying to build and they were excellent today."

Like Giggs, Ampadu lauded the mix of youth and experience in the Wales squad and said those who have been wearing the shirt for years have helped all the recent call ups feel part of the team.

"There are a lot of familiar faces but also there are the older, experienced players who have helped us [younger players] settle in," added the former Exeter player, who made his professional debut for the Grecians in August 2016 while still at school.

"Those players have really helped us and that just gives us more confidence to go out there and express ourselves.

"You can see tonight I enjoy playing for Wales."

Best night of my life 'plain and simple'

Wales full-back Connor Roberts celebrates scoring his first senior goal
Wales full-back Connor Roberts made just one appearance for Middlesbrough during a loan spell last season before returning to Swansea

Wales' final goal on Thursday night came from the most unlikely of sources in the form of Swansea City full-back Connor Roberts.

The 22-year-old has never scored a professional goal in his career but you would not have known it from the way he rifled home Wales' fourth from outside the area.

"I hit the post a couple times for Yeovil about three years ago but I've never scored," Roberts told BBC Sport Wales.

"If you told me before my career started my first ever professional goal would be for Wales I would have bitten your hand off for it.

"It was the best (night of my life), plain and simple. To play was unbelievable but then to score was out of this world."

Despite the elation of scoring on his international debut, the full-back did not get carried away with emotion and remained pragmatic over his Wales future.

"If there was ever a time where I could play it would be this game, obviously my form for Swansea has been decent recently so I got given the nod by the gaffer and I'll always be thankful for that," Roberts added.

"Hopefully there is more to come but if tonight is the only time I ever play for Wales I think I've done myself proud.

"It was a great night but that's gone now and we move on. If I get to play again it'll be another game and I will have to perform again."

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