Ryan Giggs was a contented man as he reflected on Wales’ friendly win over Belarus and beneficial results elsewhere in Euro 2020 qualifying.
Manchester United winger Daniel James curled home a superb 17th-minute winner to give Wales a 1-0 victory over Belarus in Cardiff on Monday night.
The good news did not stop there for Giggs and Wales as Group E pacesetters Croatia and Hungary both slipped up in the race for a place at next summer’s European Championship.
Leaders Croatia were held 1-1 by bottom-placed Azerbaijan in Baku, while Hungary – who started the evening in second spot – lost 2-1 at home to Slovakia.
Wales are four points behind Croatia and three adrift of Hungary and Slovakia, with a game in hand on all their rivals.
“I don’t think they’re the worst results in the world,” said Giggs, whose side have a crunch October double-header away to Slovakia and at home to Croatia.
“It was a difficult one with Hungary and Slovakia. We definitely didn’t want a Hungary win.
“But we’ve got to focus on ourselves. It’s still in our hands.”
Giggs was encouraged on the pitch by another impressive display from James, who has been in sensational form since his £15million summer switch from Swansea.
James has scored three times in four United appearances – and his second Wales goal allowed Giggs’ side to build on their Euro 2020 qualifying win over Azerbaijan on Friday.
“He’s one of those players you know what he’s going to do but you can’t stop it,” Giggs said.
“There are so many goals (he’s scored) like that. He can go either way.
“Early on when I saw DJ, just like any young winger, there can be that improvement in the final ball and scoring more goals.
“But he’s doing that. To do what he’s done at the start of the season is amazing.
“The next step obviously is that consistency, which he’s shown so far and he needs to carry on.
“But I’ve got no doubts that will happen because he wants to be the best.”
Wales were without Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey and Bournemouth forward David Brooks for this international camp.
While Brooks will still be missing in October after knee surgery, Giggs hopes Ramsey can feature for the first time in Euro 2020 qualifying after hamstring issues.
“I’ll look keenly at a couple of players who could make the squad for the next game,” Giggs said.
“I just hope everyone else stays healthy, and the key for me is for my players to get games.
“I’ve had a lot of players this week turning up and they’re fit and in the match rhythm. You can tell the ones who are rusty to the ones who are playing games.
“All I ask is that they’re playing – if I’m going to be greedy – playing in the positions I want them to be playing in.
“That’s the ideal situation for an international manager.”