Ryan Giggs has acknowledged he could have picked his words more carefully after saying Daniel James was being “streetwise” in staying grounded after a head collision against Croatia last month but the Wales manager believes the brain injury charity Headway, which criticised his comments, was wrong to question the Wales medical staff openly.
James and Domagoj Vida were involved in an aerial challenge that resulted in the Manchester United winger receiving around three minutes of treatment before he completed the match. Headway queried whether concussion protocols were correctly followed, said it appeared James lost consciousness and argued that the player should have been substituted. Giggs said the player passed all the tests and was not concussed.
Giggs said he understood Headway’s concern but felt it overlooked the way the Football Association of Wales medical staff dealt with other players, namely Ethan Ampadu, who was withdrawn from the same game following concussion.
“I was quite surprised that they didn’t mention Ethan, who did come off with a head injury. An organisation like that, not having faith in our medical department which is outstanding, which brought Joe Allen out of a game, in a huge game [a World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland in 2017]; Kieffer Moore, fractured skull, five stitches in the game before, nothing gets said about that, but the easy target is Dan James because he plays for Man United. Because it creates headlines.”
Giggs said Headway did not contact him or the FAW to express concern over his comments. “I don’t know about regret but maybe I could have worded it a little bit differently,” Giggs said. “As a manager I should be used to it but I am a little bit frustrated that after two good performances I am having to talk about someone who didn’t get concussion.”
Giggs is confident Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey will be fit for Wales’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Hungary after naming them in a 27-man squad. Bale has not played since sustaining a calf problem after scoring the equaliser against Croatia in Cardiff, while Ramsey has not started a game for Juventus since September.
“We are monitoring it day by day,” Giggs said. “I’ve been in contact with Gareth and he’s confident that he’s going to be fit. He’s desperate to be fit. He was hoping he would be involved this weekend [for Real Madrid against Eibar] and he feels that the rehab has gone well.”
Joe Allen is suspended for the trip to Baku but will be available for the final Group E qualifier against Hungary. Giggs has called up the former Manchester United defender Regan Poole, now of MK Dons, in place of the Swansea defender Joe Rodon, who is unavailable after ankle tendon surgery. Bournemouth’s David Brooks and Charlton’s Jonny Williams are also absent through injury.
Giggs said he and his staff were tracking the progress of Liverpool’s Neco Williams, Sheffield Wednesday’s Morgan Fox and Millwall’s Tom Bradshaw.