Football: Giggs given Gould's vote of confidence

Group Seven: Wales
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The Independent Online
Ryan Giggs, the new captain of Wales, has revealed that his dream is to lead his country to the World Cup finals. The 23-year-old Manchester United winger, who has won medals galore in the English game, even puts his Welsh quest above more titles at Old Trafford.

Giggs takes over as captain from the suspended Gary Speed for the encounter with Belgium in Brussels tonight, with Wales already out of the tournament. He said: "Captaining my country has been a dream of mine. I have thought about it and hoped it would happen but I am a little surprised it has come so quickly." Only Mike England, at 22, captained the Welsh at a younger age than Cardiff-born Giggs.

Bobby Gould, the Wales manager, will probably restore Speed to the captaincy for Wales' next international - but it is clear that Giggs could well become skipper permanently in the future.

Giggs said: "I have won so much for Manchester United but this will be the greatest moment of my life. I will be so proud to lead Wales out.

"I do not believe it is out of the question that one day Wales will reach the World Cup finals. Reaching that stage is more important to me personally than anything, but of course I want more titles too with United."

Giggs' previous experience of captaincy was with England Schoolboys, Wales' youth XI and United's youth team.

Gould, who will not name his team until just before the kick-off, said: "This is all part of Ryan's football education. Alex Ferguson has nurtured him at United into a wonderful player. I talked to Ryan briefly before he came out to Brussels and he has reacted very positively to the challenge. It is a great honour for him."