Ryan Giggs savoured “one of the greatest nights” of his career after leading Wales to Euro 2020 and insisted his team can continue to flourish after Aaron Ramsey struck twice on his return to the starting lineup to secure passage to a third major tournament finals.
Ramsey scored in each half in victory against Hungary and Giggs is adamant there is further room for Wales – who reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016 under Chris Coleman – to grow.
“It is a special, special night,” he said. “The lads have showed great determination and quality and a never-give-up attitude. They deserve all the plaudits.
“There was no room for error and the quality and concentration they have shown, they deserve it. It is one of the greatest nights of my life. I achieved a lot as a player but it’s different as a manager, the pressure you are under, and you are helpless as a manager. I was never nervous as a player but as a manager you are. Come game day, it is out of your hands.
“As a player, you want to play in major championships. My first memory of a major championship was the 1982 World Cup. It’s different as a manager. This is different.
“It feels amazing – the group of players I have got and my staff. I am a relatively young coach and I could not have done it without my staff. Together we did it. As a player, basically you look after yourself. You are quite selfish. As a manager you have to manage everything, so it’s a completely different kettle of fish. This is just the beginning. We have seen a lot of young players over the last 18 months and they can get better.”
Giggs was effusive in his praise of Ramsey, who scored his first Wales goals since September last year – a first-half header from a Gareth Bale cross followed by a close-range finish two minutes after the interval. “We have missed him,” Giggs added. “We have some very good players but they don’t grow on trees – players who make the difference. Aaron was the difference.”
Ramsey said: “We had the best time of our lives in France so we wanted to make sure we really got it this time, having missed out on the World Cup. It was a big effort and I missed a lot of this campaign but it was all worthwhile and to chip in with a couple of goals is amazing. We inspired a nation last time out [at Euro 2016], so we wanted to do it again.”