Wales coach Robert Page keeping communication lines with Ryan Giggs open
Caretaker coach Robert Page has kept open the lines of communication to absent Wales manager Ryan Giggs by saying he is “a phone call away” for the side’s upcoming three matches.
Giggs will miss Thursday’s friendly against the United States and the Nations League double-header against the Republic of Ireland and Finland after being arrested over an alleged row with girlfriend Kate Greville at his Manchester home on November 1.
The 46-year-old former Manchester United star, who in a statement on his behalf has denied “all allegations of assault made against him”, has been bailed amid an ongoing Greater Manchester Police investigation.
The Football Association of Wales said in a statement following Giggs’ arrest that he would not be involved in the three matches, but Page says he will speak to him if he “needs a chat”.
“Amongst all the staff we will have our input and our say,” Page said ahead of the USA friendly in Swansea.
“Of course, I know he (Giggs) is a phone call away if I need a chat, if I need to talk about anything that’s been brought up on camp and all the staff feel the same.
“Ryan will have access to the games, but I think it is important that while we are there at the game that we just focus on the game.
“There is enough experience in the coaching staff to be able to go and get through these three games.
“If we need some input or a conversation about anything, we know he is a phone call away.
“We’re in a good place coming into the last two qualifiers. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. There’s momentum coming into this camp.”
Captain Gareth Bale is available after picking up a knock playing for Tottenham last weekend.
But Bale is unlikely to be risked against the USA and Spurs boss Jose Mourinho said he is “not comfortable” that the forward’s time on the pitch with Wales will be partly managed by an Arsenal coach.
Albert Stuivenberg, who is also on Mikel Arteta’s staff at the Emirates Stadium, will assist Page as Bale makes his way back from a knee injury.
“We’ve got Joe Rodon and Ben Davies so we’ve had Tottenham players involved for a few years so, of course, he (Mourinho) is going to show an interest,” Page said.
“But Albert has been involved with the Welsh set-up for a couple of years and there’s never been any issues there at all.
“There’s a plan we have for Gareth, no different to any other player. We have a template in place for any player.
“If they’ve got individual plans, of course we’ll adhere to that as well. From our point of view, there’s been no communication but we’ve got a plan to get the players fit and ready for the games in a sensible manner.
“It’s been no different over the years and we’ll continue to do the same.”
Asked whether Mourinho’s comments were disappointing, former Port Vale and Northampton boss Page replied: “No, not at all. I can empathise with what he’s saying.
“I’ve been a club manager myself, albeit I didn’t have too many players leave for international duty.
“We’re borrowing his players to come and play for Wales so of course we’re going to look after them.
“We’ve got one of the best medical teams in the country and we trust in what they do is in the best interest of the players to get them fit.
“They’re not going to undo any work that’s been done at club level, and that’s irrespective if you’re Gareth Bale or whoever.
“It’s elite sport and elite preparation for games. I totally sympathise and understand what he (Mourinho) is saying.”