Ryan Giggs made the perfect start to his competitive Wales tenure with a four-star win over Republic of Ireland.
A new-look Wales lit up the Cardiff City Stadium to blow away their home nations rivals in the new UEFA Nations League competition.
More than 25,000 were left amazed as Wales turned on the style to allow us a glimpse of what Ryan Giggs’ Wales is going to look like.
Wales continued to dominate possession, racking up 68%, something we saw commonly under Chris Coleman.
But this time, Wales played on the front foot with bravery and reaped the rewards.
The Wales boss said after the game: “It can always be better.
“There are things we didn’t do so well, but overall, with the performance as a team and certain individuals – I told them to trust themselves on the ball, that’s what I got and I was pleased with what I got.
“To score four goals in any game is special.”
Giggs wants players to trust themselves on the ball, he wants attacking players to express themselves and to attempt the trickery they may only usually be encouraged to use on the training ground.
There’s a new-found confidence going forward. With options like David Brooks and Tom Lawrence out wide – young players with no fear – Wales have players who can unlock defences.
There’s no doubt it was helped by Ireland’s poorly calculated system that allowed Wales space out wide.
However, credit must go to that front three for tearing Ireland apart.
It was easy to pick out the wide players with long balls, but they did brilliantly once on the ball, running at their man with pace and that trickery ordered by the boss.
Then there’s Gareth Bale who started in the middle but on a number of occasions, he drifted wide to take his more natural position.
The intent to attack is something we didn’t see in the previous regime. Wales had to rely on rigid options with one striker, either Sam Vokes and Hal Robson-Kanu.
Of course, with the defensive protection that system offers, it was successful for Wales and credit to Chris Coleman for that.
However, Giggs is clearly going for excitement, looking to win games at the top end of the pitch instead of the bottom.
Unlike Coleman, he has a ready and firing wing partnership and Giggs is intent to use it.
It’s good to see so much pace and power and that takes pressure away from Gareth Bale, who is under less pressure to offer those lung-busting runs.
It also allows Aaron Ramsey to pick and choose where he roams, giving him space to operate – that’s always a big plus for a player like him.
And that’s also helped by having two deep midfielders in Ampadu and Allen who were Wales’ metronomes in the Ireland clash.
They glamorously cruised through the game, doing what they do best, winning the ball back and setting attacking moves on their way.
The two even managed an assist each, capping off excellent displays respectively.
And so this is the new-look Wales.
Perhaps it’s not time to get excited just yet given the injuries Ireland had going into this game.
But even if we can’t pitch Wales as Euro 2020 champions just yet, what we can get excited about is the style of play.
There’s absolutely no doubt that Ryan Giggs is taking a different approach to the previous regime and that’s refreshing to see.
We know that’s important, something we learned when Coleman took over from Gary Speed.
Having said that, there are core elements that remain, like the passing game and the way Wales are building from the back.
But now we are seeing more attacking flare, more panache and it’s a joy to see Giggs utilising the young, bright and attacking players he has at his disposal.