Joe Allen feels Ryan Giggs is the perfect manager to promote young players as Wales’ Republic of Ireland rout evoked memories of Manchester United’s celebrated ‘Class of 92′.
Giggs and team-mates David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt all became serial winners and household names as United manager Sir Alex Ferguson placed his faith in youth.
Over a quarter of a century later, there were echoes of that in Giggs’ own team as Ethan Ampadu (17), Chris Mepham (20), David Brooks (21) and Connor Roberts (22) all started Wales’ 4-1 thrashing of the Republic of Ireland and Matthew Smith (18) and Tyler Roberts (19) made positive impressions off the bench.
“Ryan’s got a lot of faith in the young lads,” Stoke midfielder Allen said after Wales’ UEFA Nations League opener.
“You could see even when he took over at United for a few games he gave young players a chance straight away. Tom Lawrence was one of them.
“I’m sure that is a result of the chance he got as a young player (in) the ‘Class of 92’, (there) is no better example of giving youth a chance.
“It’s a taste of what his philosophy is going to be about and it certainly looks like it is going to be the right one.
“It’s tough to put lads in any sort of bracket like the ‘Class of 92′, but the nation is going to be in good hands moving forward.
“A lot of those lads are going to be around for years and years.”
The nature of Wales’ win provided some payback for the pain felt last October when the Republic ended their World Cup ambitions with a 1-0 win over Chris Coleman’s side in Cardiff.
Although Allen accepted that Wales had lost the game that “really mattered”, he insisted some comfort was to be gained from beating their Celtic cousins so emphatically.
“You can’t help but want to beat that team,” he said.
“It was hugely disappointing last time, that was the one that really mattered and the big opportunity.
“That will always hang over us and be a disappointment we will always carry.
“But it’s great we have been able to move on I guess, and we have come a long way in that year with the youngsters now in the squad.”
Wales now move on to play Denmark in their second Nations League match in Aarhus on Sunday.
And it will be Denmark’s first team which provides the opposition after the extraordinary row over commercial rights was finally resolved.
The row led to Denmark fielding a team of lower-league and futsal players in the 3-0 friendly defeat to Slovakia on Wednesday, but Christian Eriksen and company are back against Wales.
“My gut feeling told me it would probably get resolved before our game and it has,” Allen said.
“It would have been an interesting one to see what would have happened if it had not.
“The message was to focus completely on the Ireland game, which we did to a certain degree, but you couldn’t help but keep an eye on what was going on.
“But it’s always great when you have two games, especially when you do so well in the first game.
“We are going to take huge positives and confidence into the second one on Sunday.”