Giggs not focusing on threat of racism in Hungary

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Ryan Giggs has brushed aside fears that his Wales players could be the target for racism during their Euro 2020 qualifier against Hungary.

Some 3,000 seats will be unfilled at Budapest’s Groupama Arena on Tuesday after UEFA ordered a partial stadium closure following the behaviour of Hungary supporters in Slovakia in March.

Hungary fans were found guilty of racist behaviour, vandalism and the setting off of fireworks, and the Hungarian Football Federation must display a banner with the wording ‘EqualGame’ on it in the closed sector on Tuesday.

The Groupama Arena
The Groupama Arena will be partly empty when Wales visit (Tim Goode/PA)

“I’ve talked before about sanctions on racism not being strong enough. They need to be stronger.

“But for me it’s all about concentrating on the game. I’ve got enough to worry about with winning this game.

“We hope that all the fans behave as always in all the games as they should.”

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale has a key role to play for Wales (Adam Davy/PA)

Bale has not scored since mid-March, lost his first-team place at Real Madrid towards the end of the season, and his club future is in doubt this summer.

But Giggs said: “I was happy with Gareth’s performance in Croatia, he had a couple of chances and on another day they go in.

“It was his first game in six weeks, we had a great build-up in Portugal and a great week at Colliers Park (their training facility in Wrexham).

“Gareth grew into the game, not playing for six weeks that might be understandable. Hopefully’s he’s saving it for Hungary.”

Chris Gunter, left, embraces Ryan Giggs
History beckons for Chris Gunter, left (Nick Potts/PA)

Chris Gunter is set to replace Connor Roberts at right-back and win a record 95th cap.

David Brooks and Ethan Ampadu, who both impressed as late substitiutes against Croatia, will also come into contention if they can prove their match fitness.

“I realise after the impact they made, a lot of fans are asking why I didn’t start them,” Giggs said.

“Ethan hasn’t started a game for six months and Brooksy didn’t end the season with Bournemouth. He only trained for two days.

“You’re already giving up two substitutions and you’re not being fair on the other players. That’s my job and it’s our job as staff to assess what’s best.

“Brooksy’s ankle seems fine and Ethan was feeling his back a little bit, but I think that was more from a knock that he got. After the training session we’ll know a lot more.

“I thought a lot of the players did well but we have to take the heat into consideration.

“Some of the players are short of minutes at the end of the season, so maybe it’s about freshening the side up a little bit but also assessing how the recovery has gone.”

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