When it was announced that Ryan Giggs wouldn’t be leading Wales out at the 2020 European Championships, Robert Page was somewhat thrown in at the deep end. The former international defender became the national team’s assistant manager in August 2019, and few would have thought that he’d be the primary figure in the dugout for Euro 2020. That said, few can argue that the 46-year-old hasn’t risen to the occasion and enhanced his reputation in the process. It’s an exciting time to speculate what the future may hold for Page.
Delivering in Front of a Global Audience
Many expect that Giggs will return to his post in the future, with Page only replacing him on a short-term basis. However, irrespective of what the 46-year-old’s short-term future holds, he’s performed admirably as Wales’ stand-in head coach. It’s a testament to his leadership and the squad’s togetherness that the Dragons finished second in Group A, setting up a Round of 16 match against Denmark. As of June 22nd, Wales are 6/1 in Euro 2020 odds to reach the semi-final, which would see them equal their 2016 European Championship finish.
After defeating Belgium to reach the semi-finals in 2016, Wales set the bar high. Because of their recent success, Page isn’t content to merely make up the numbers. On match-day three, the Dragons suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Italy after going down to ten men, and the 46-year-old insisted that Wales didn’t go into the fixture looking to “limp across the line”. This attitude speaks volumes about Page’s management style, and whatever the future holds for him on the international stage, he’s steadied the ship at a critical time.
Making the Most of His Opportunity
There’s every chance that Page may not get this opportunity again, but he’s staying grounded and living in the moment. In many ways, leading Wales out at Euro 2020 is the culmination of a career-long dedication to football. After retiring, the Llwynypia-born defender spent two years at Port Vale, and he guided the Valiants to a 12th-place finish in League One in 2015-16. It’s a testament to Page’s managerial qualities that he took the Vale within nine points of a playoff spot. Furthermore, this success opened the door to numerous opportunities, and Page signed with Northampton Town in May 2016.
To date, Page only has seven years of managerial experience. As such, it means that there’s plenty of time to develop his tactics and man-management. After guiding Wales out of Group A and achieving a mid-table finish in League One with Port Vale in 2015-16, Page has shown that he’s a competent leader both domestically and internationally. The Welshman is meticulous in his approach and spends time analysing fine details, which will serve him well throughout his managerial career.
Stepping Up to the Plate
Irrespective of Wales’ final finish at Euro 2020, Page has shown his talent and highlighted that he deserves more than a stop-gap role. Page represents his country with pride, and he’s getting the most of the current group of players. Moreover, his performances will likely have piqued numerous clubs’ interest, and a return to club management may tempt him in the future.