Harry Redknapp book: Ryan Giggs could have solved England's long-term conundrum on the left - had he not played for Wales

Redknapp believes that Giggs would've been the answer to England's issues in finding a natural left-sided midfielder

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The Independent Online

Harry Redknapp has identified the answer to England’s problems on the international stage – Welshman Ryan Giggs.

England’s struggles at major tournaments since 1990 has been well-documented – barring the 1996 European campaign – but Redknapp believes that having Giggs available on the left-wing would not only have helped out the Three Lions, but saved a number of players who saw their international careers ruined by filling in out wide.

Speaking in his new book A Man Walks On To A Pitch which is being serialised by the Daily Mail, Redknapp claims that the only player he witnessed who maintained a similar level of fitness throughout his career to Giggs was Billy Bonds.

“Ryan Giggs just had an athlete’s physique. He could run all day,” said Redknapp.

“The only other player I’ve seen like that was West Ham’s Billy Bonds, who was all ribs. He never blew up in the summer, never put weight on year to year, and that was Giggs, too.

“I remember when Ryan took his shirt off after scoring that wonder goal against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final replay in 1999 — there was nothing of him, really.

“He was muscular, yes, but you’d think a powerful full back would be able to bash him up. They couldn’t.

“Every Englishman wishes Ryan could have played for us because we had a real problem on the left throughout the 1990s, but his family is all Welsh. He played for England Schoolboys, but the moment it came to senior football he could only represent Wales.”

As it was, Giggs had eyes only for Wales, and made 64 appearances for his country over a 16-year period. While he was starring for the Red Dragon, England ploughed their way through a long line of central midfielders in the hope that one of them could solve the conundrum that was the left-wing.

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Giggs now works as Louis van Gaal's assistant manager at Manchester United

It’s something that Redknapp believes could have been avoided, and he includes his own son Jamie Redknapp among those who saw their international career “ruined” due to having to play out of position.

“It could have solved so many issues had he been able to play for England because we ruined a succession of players out on that left flank: Paul Scholes retired because he kept getting stuck out there; Joe Cole made a decent fist of it for a while; they even tried my lad Jamie out there in one game.

“It’s a scary position if it is not yours by right because it is so hard to get in the game.

“Ryan was born there; he had pace, he could cross, come inside or go outside.”

 

Giggs retired at the end of last season, having taken on a four-match interim role at manager of his beloved Manchester United. Following Louis van Gaal’s appointment as United’s new manager, Giggs was taken on as the Dutchman’s assistant, and has maintained the club’s traditional feel during a time of major upheaval given his belonging in the ‘Class of 92’ that the club holds in such high esteem.

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