Football: Wales without injured Giggs

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RYAN GIGGS has pulled out of Wales' European Championship qualifier with Switzerland in Zurich next Wednesday. The hamstring injury he suffered playing for Manchester United in the European Cup tie against Internazionale last week is considered too severe for him even to travel to meet up with the Welsh squad.

The news came as a major blow for the Wales manager, Bobby Gould, who feared the worst at the weekend when Giggs did not figure in United's 3-1 Premiership victory over Everton. Giggs has had a scan and a tear in his hamstring has been discovered.

The United manager, Alex Ferguson, had been happy to let Giggs travel to join the Wales squad, but the extent of the injury means that he would have no chance of playing in Zurich.

Missing their most talented player is a sad fact of life that the Welsh are getting used to. Injuries and suspensions ruled Giggs out for much of last years's internationals, and he has never played for Wales in a friendly since making his debut in 1992.

Wales have also been hit by three other withdrawals - Huddersfield's Steve Jenkins, Barnsley's Darren Barnard and the Wolves defender Adrian Williams. Barnard and Williams have been carrying long-term injuries while Williams has not played since scoring in the 2-1 win over Denmark last October following a neck injury.

Gould has called up the Watford defender Robert Page and Aston Villa's new full-back Mark Delaney, who only a year ago was turning out for Carmarthen Town.

The Blackburn winger Keith Gillespie could be out of Northern Ireland's qualifier against Germany on Saturday, after missing training yesterday with a hamstring injury.