Aaron Ramsey return vital for Wales, while Ashley Williams is also back in the fold

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Wales meet Slovakia in a crucial Euro 2020 qualifier in Trnava on Thursday.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the main talking points surrounding the Group E fixture.

GIGGS MUST CONVINCE

The jury remains out on Ryan Giggs, even though the Wales manager is now only three months short of his second anniversary in the job. The former Manchester United winger has had some highs in attempting to find the right blend, most notably the 4-1 thrashing of the Republic of Ireland just over a year ago.

But there have been too many lows as Wales have been playing catch-up in Euro 2020 qualifying, and Giggs must show more tactical awareness.

RAMSEY RETURN VITAL

It is not an over-exaggeration to suggest that Wales’ Euro 2020 fortunes would be a lot brighter had Aaron Ramsey been available. Ramsey’s delicate hamstrings have left Giggs, well, hamstrung.

The Juventus midfielder has not played a single minute of this qualifying campaign, and Giggs will not be alone in Wales in hoping that the ‘twinge’ he felt in his adductor muscle last weekend will prevent him shining against Slovakia and Croatia this week.

A MUST-NOT LOSE RATHER THAN A MUST-WIN FOR WALES

Group E has stood for equality with a four-way fight for the top two qualifying places. Croatia lead the way, one point ahead of Slovakia and Hungary and four clear of Wales who have a game in hand on all of their rivals.

The fact Wales beat Slovakia at home in March leaves them in good shape on the head-to-head if they do not lose in Trnava. Wales play Croatia at home on Sunday before finishing with a trip to Azerbaijan and the visit of Hungary. Giggs’ aim is to take the race down to the final two games.

WILLIAMS IS THE COMEBACK CAPTAIN

Ashley Williams is back in the Wales squad.

Ashley Williams is back in the Wales squad.

Just over six weeks ago Ashley Williams did not have a club and Wales’ third-most capped player’s future international prospects looked bleak. The 86-times capped defender was left out of the squad for the qualifying win against Azerbaijan, but the 35-year-old signed for Bristol City and has started the high-flying Robins’ last five games in the Championship.

So Williams was quickly recalled to the squad and now looks set to play against Slovakia with Chris Mepham injured. Never write him off.

LAWRENCE OWES GIGGS DEBT OF GRATITUDE

In the words of Tammy Wynette, Wales boss Giggs did stand by his man. Tom Lawrence’s selection provoked consternation among many Wales fans after the Derby forward was involved in a car accident and charged with drink-driving.

Giggs called it a “football decision” but it remains to be seen – as has been the case with some Derby fans – whether the player will be jeered by Wales supporters.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the selection, Giggs has made a big call – and Lawrence needs to repay that faith.

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Joachim Low hails Bastian Schweinsteiger as one of Germany's best-ever players

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Germany coach Joachim Low has described the retired Bastian Schweinsteiger as one of the greatest players Germany has ever had.

Talking on Tuesday before Schweinsteiger made the announcement, Low said ‘he was a great player and also a great personality’.

The 35-year-old has called time on a glittering career which featured a World Cup triumph with Germany in 2014 and numerous trophies with Bayern Munich, including the 2013 Champions League.

After spending most of his career with Bayern, he had two seasons at Old Trafford before moving in 2017 to Chicago Fire, who failed to reach the MLS play-offs at the end of last month.


Schweinsteiger wrote on social media: “Dear Fans, the time has now come and I will be finishing my active career at the end of this season.








“I would like to thank both you and my teams FC Bayern, Manchester United, Chicago Fire and the German national team. You made this unbelievable time possible for me!


“And of course I would like to thank my wife Ana Ivanovic and my family for their support. Saying goodbye as an active player makes me feel a little nostalgic, but I am also looking forward to the exciting challenges that await me soon. I will remain faithful to football


“Many, many thanks for the time we spent together, I will always have a place for you in my heart.”


Watch Low share his thoughts on Schweinsteiger above.



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WATCH: Juventus star Paulo Dybala trains with Argentina in Germany

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Paulo Dybala.

Argentina trained on Tuesday at the Sportschule Kaiserau on the eve of their friendly game against hosts Germany at Signal-Iduna-Park stadium in Dortmund.

Against Germany, head coach Lionel Scaloni won’t have Lionel Messi, who has been suspended for three months by CONMEBOL for publicly criticising the organisation during the last Copa America.

Scaloni can’t count on Boca Juniors and River Plate players either, since the two teams will face off in the second leg of the Copa Libertadores semi-final on Wednesday, October 23.

After the match against Germany, Argentina will fly to Spain, where on Saturday they will play against Ecuador in Elche.










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