Wales assistant manager Osian Roberts admits he had to consider his future in the Welsh setup after missing out on the top job – but believes Ryan Giggs is the right man to build on the foundations laid down by predecessor Chris Coleman.
Former Manchester United assistant coach Giggs is preparing for his second camp as Wales manager, as the Red Dragons travel to Pasadena, California, to take on Mexico on May 29.
Roberts, who serves as Giggs’ assistant coach alongside Albert Stuivenberg, told S4C’s Mwy o Sgorio: “It’s early days and there’s a lot of work to be done but we’re looking forward to the next trip, which is a good end-of-season trip for the players.
“I thought Ryan was relaxed in the role and he settled into it very naturally. I think that his two years’ experience under Louis Van Gaal has helped him a lot to make that step from being a player, to start thinking like a manager.
“I’ve enjoyed working with him. I’ve enjoyed every moment since becoming involved with the national team, and now I’m excited for the way forward and I hope that there will be another golden era ahead of us soon.”
Anglesey-born Roberts, who has so far trained the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Mikel Arteta to become coaches during his time as FAW’s Technical Director, also applied for the Wales manager’s job after Chris Coleman’s departure.
Along with Giggs and Craig Bellamy, he was interviewed for the role, and Roberts admits he did consider his future in the Wales setup when he missed out on the job.
He added: “You never know what will happen in football, but at the same time, I didn’t know if I wanted to continue, from a personal point of view. It was an opportunity to reflect and ask some questions.
“It was vital that if I was to carry on [as assistant], that I would be able to give Ryan what he wanted as part of his staff. I can’t preach to managers of the future about the importance of being adaptable and to work with others with an open mind, if I can’t be adaptable myself.
“The important thing was that Wales would continue to be successful and to build on the recent success. That was the important thing, and whether I was there or not, was secondary.
“I felt strongly that continuity was essential. My biggest fear was that someone would come in and change everything, so I thought it was important to protect what had been put in place as much as possible, and to build on it.
“I thought that by applying, I was making the right decision to show my excitement and my passion as a Welshman, and that I could continue with the work that had been put in over the last few years.
“Fortunately, Ryan feels very strongly about the foundations that are already in place and he wants to build on that, so everything has worked out well.”
Watch the full interview between Osian Roberts and Dylan Ebenezer, on Mwy o Sgorio, at 6.30pm on Wednesday, on S4C, or on demand at s4c.cymru.
(By Tomos Hughes)