Ryan Giggs admits he is nervous for the first time in his illustrious career as he prepares for his managerial debut with Wales.
The Manchester United legend won the Premier League title 13 times, as well as lifting the Champions League trophy twice, during over two decades of service to the club as a player.
Yet despite all he achieved on the field, Giggs – who picked up 64 caps for his country – is apprehensive ahead of Thursday’s fixture against China in Nanning.
The 44-year-old was on the coaching staff at United, serving as interim manager following the departure of David Moyes in 2014, but is now embarking on his first full-time role.
“I’ll be much more nervous than I was as a player,” Giggs said.
“I never really got nervous as a player, but coming into management is completely different, as there are so many things to think about.
“As a player, you’re quite selfish and making sure you’re doing your job within the team. But as a manager, you are always thinking: ‘Have you forgotten anything? What can be improved?’
“So it’s about preparing the team as best I can with my staff, then you evaluate what you could do better and what you did well.
“It’s completely different from being a player.”
“With the new manager it’s not so much about changing things but continuing to build on the good work that we’ve done in recent years.”#TogetherStrongerpic.twitter.com/OOwmTLBksF
— Wales (@Cymru) March 21, 2018
Giggs has a tough act to follow in Chris Coleman, who led Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 but resigned last November after they missed out on qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
“The most important thing is to win games. But in the right way, just like when I was a player,” Giggs added.
“You want to play attractive football and entertain, but you have to do the basics like working hard as well.
“I’m lucky to inherit a side with a good team spirit, and every successful team needs to have a good team spirit.”
Wales are without Aaron Ramsey for the four-nation China Cup that also involves Uruguay and Czech Republic but Gareth Bale is part of the squad.