Giggs defends decision to select Lawrence for Wales duty

Giggs defends decision to select Lawrence for Wales duty

Ryan Giggs has defended his decision to select Tom Lawrence for Wales duty, with the Derby forward due in court on a drink-driving charge later this month.

Lawrence was charged on September 24 after a crash involving his Range Rover Sport.

The 25-year-old is due to appear at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court on October 15 – two days after Wales’ crunch Euro 2020 qualifier with Croatia in Cardiff.

Wales v Azerbaijan – UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying – Group E – Cardiff City Stadium
Wales manager Ryan Giggs has defended his decision to select Tom Lawrence for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Slovakia and Croatia (Nick Potts/PA)

“It wasn’t an easy decision,” Wales manager Giggs said after naming his squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers with Slovakia and Croatia.

“It was a case of speaking to everyone involved: my staff, the FAW and Derby.

“I spoke to Phillip Cocu (Derby manager) two days ago to see what Derby’s stance was.

“It was a conversation that definitely needed to be had, to make sure we were all singing from the same hymn sheet.”

Lawrence missed Derby’s 3-2 Sky Bet Championship win over Birmingham on Saturday following the incident, which also saw team-mate Mason Bennett charged with drink-driving.

But Lawrence started the Rams’ 2-2 draw at Barnsley on Wednesday night, when sections of both sets of supporters booed as his name was read out before kick-off.

Derby have said there will be a “rigorous internal investigation” into the incident, and Cocu has suggested there will be a range of disciplinary actions taken against those involved.

“Tom is disappointed with what his actions were and he’s going to be punished (by Derby),” Giggs said.

“I spoke to him on Sunday and he was a bit down, as you can imagine.

“He has that court date on the 15th, but in the meantime he will be able to get on with his career.

“It’s not going to be easy because he’ll be thinking about that. But I’ll see how he is during the week.

“I’ll see how he trains and then make a decision or not on whether to start him in any of the games.”

Albania v Wales – International Friendly – Elbasan Arena
Captain Ashley Williams returns to the Wales squad after establishing himself at Bristol City (Adam Davy/PA)

Skipper Ashley Williams is recalled to the squad after being left out for the Euro 2020 qualifier and friendly wins against Azerbaijan and Belarus last month.

Williams, 35, started the season without a club but he joined Bristol City at the end of August and has played in the Robins’ last four Championship games.

Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey, Schalke winger Rabbi Matondo and Tyler Roberts also return after injury problems.

“It’s good to have Ash back,” Giggs said. “I left him out the last time because he didn’t have a club, but now he’s playing regularly and playing well so he’s back in.

Albania v Wales – International Friendly – Elbasan Arena
Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey has yet to play for Wales in Euro 2020 qualifying because of injury (Adam Davy/PA)

“It’s also great to have Aaron back. I’ve not been able to call on him in any of the qualifiers so far, and he’s obviously a player who can do special things.

“He’s settled into life in Italy very well, so that’s good for Aaron and good for Wales.”

Liverpool’s Ben Woodburn is not included and Bournemouth forward David Brooks and defender James Lawrence, who plays for German club St Pauli, are ruled out by injury.

Woodburn, who is on loan at Oxford, has been named for the first time in a Wales Under-21s squad for their Euro qualifier against Moldova on October 11.