Toshack and Giggs united as they put the past behind them

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The Independent Football

The Manchester United winger even admitted in his recent autobiography he was among the players under Hughes who used to hurl abuse and rubbish at the dressing room television set whenever Toshack was at his most critical, in his previous role as the pundit the Wales players loved to hate.

A few months on, Giggs is now Toshack's captain and produced one of his best performances in a Wales shirt against England at the weekend, and he is talking openly of five more years in the national team.

"You can't dwell on the past," Giggs said yesterday. "We all have to move forward. We are all after the same thing which is qualifying for a major championships. But we are building now for the next four years or so.

"It is hard enough as it is, being a small country. The manager, the players, are all after the same thing. We all need to focus on that, and improving, and there is no room for thinking about what happened a couple of years ago. We all need to perform in every game and every time we come away. We all have to focus on that alone."

Toshack, who is expected to play Robert Earnshaw up front in place of the suspended John Hartson, was quick to praise Giggs. "Ryan has led by example," Toshack said. "His all-round attitude has been spot-on. Sometimes when you are at a club surrounded by top players and winning titles and championships regularly, you can do one of two things when you come into the Wales set-up.

"You can come down and be involved and then go away, or you can take a full part. Some of the other lads are looking at him and thinking, 'What does Ryan think of me?' or 'I've given the ball away again, what's going through his mind?.' But he has settled the nerves of the younger ones over that."

Toshack is unconcerned about Giggs' laid-back image, adding: "You don't have to be a vocal captain. I wasn't. The greatest player this country has ever produced, John Charles, was never one for shaking his fist or running around after people."