Monday 22 January 2018

New Wales boss Speed eager to bring 'retired' stars back on board

John Ley

Gary Speed intends to find out if any Wales players who retired during the reign of former manager John Toshack want to return to the international fold.

The former Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United player was confirmed as the Principality's manager yesterday, with the sole aim of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

Speed watched several former Wales team-mates, such as Ryan Giggs, Simon Davies, Robbie Savage, Jason Koumas and Danny Gabbidon, call time on their international careers.

While Wales possess bright prospects such as Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, and West Ham's Jack Collison, they lack experience, so Speed (41) will offer an open-door policy to former players.

"I'm sure I will be ringing around in the next two weeks," Speed said. "A couple have already rung me."

Giggs, who retired in 2007 at the age of 33, is unlikely to return in the twilight of his career with Manchester United.

However, Jonathan Ford, the chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, said: "If, at any time, Ryan wanted to come back in any form, we'd be delighted to have a conversation."

Speed wants experienced footballers to work alongside him and could consider Giggs. He may, though, turn to another former team-mate, Dean Saunders.

Time is short with just one game, against Ireland in Dublin in February, before he faces his home debut as manager against England in a Euro 2012 qualifier in March.

"It's a great game for everyone involved, because we haven't had the best start to the group," Speed said of the England game. "In a way, that gives us a good chance to wipe the slate clean and start again. If I was a player I would be thoroughly looking forward to it, because it's a no-lose situation, and it's something that could kick-start us.

"Of course, we can beat them. One thing England has certainly got is good players, so I'm not saying we'll just walk out there and win it, it will be a difficult game.

"It could be a good time to play them, but only because it will be my first competitive game. Hopefully, that will give the players a lift; it might be what we need." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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