Ramsey absence ‘a blow’, admits Giggs

Aaron Ramsey missing Wales’s opening Euro 2020 qualifier against Slovakia is a blow said manager Ryan Giggs. (AFP pic)

LONDON: Wales manager Ryan Giggs said midfielder Aaron Ramsey missing his country’s opening Euro 2020 qualifier against Slovakia on Sunday due to injury is a “blow”.

The 28-year-old Arsenal star – who is to join defending Serie A champions Juventus next season – has returned to his club having failed to recover from a thigh injury that prevented him playing in Wednesday’s 1-0 friendly win over Trinidad and Tobago.

“We hoped Aaron would make it but he has gone back to Arsenal. It’s a blow,” Giggs said at his eve of the match press conference on Saturday.

However, brighter news for Giggs is that their star player Gareth Bale – instrumental like Ramsey in their surprising run to the 2016 semi-finals which included a 2-1 group stage win over the Slovakians – will return to the starting line-up having sat out the friendly.

“I’m looking forward to this qualifying campaign for Wales,” said Bale.

“We’re ready to give everything for the jersey.

“We want to be playing in the major tournaments and experience again what we’ve been through.

“We’re going for top spot. There’s no reason why we can’t win the group.”

Bale could be joined in the starting XI by highly-rated Bournemouth wing David Brooks, who appears to have recovered from an ankle injury as the 21-year-old was able to take part in training.