Chris Coleman is currently manager of Greek top-flight club Atromitos

Former Wales manager Chris Coleman says the 2022 World Cup qualifiers are still benefiting from the impact of his predecessor Gary Speed.

Wales beat Ukraine 1-0 in their play-off final to reach Qatar where Robert Page’s men will face USA, Iran and England at the group stage in November.

Coleman led Wales to 2016 Euros semi-finals after succeeding Speed, who died in 2011.

He says Speed “put a lot of things in place” that have since paid off.

Former Sunderland and Fulham boss Coleman, 51, added: “I know I benefited from that, I’m sure Ryan Giggs and Pagey did too.

“Not to take away anything from those two, they’ve done great jobs, they deserve all their credit.”

Coleman himself earned a huge amount of credit and praise for guiding Wales through the aftermath of Speed’s death at the age of 42.

He took charge of what had been dubbed Wales’ ‘golden generation’, featuring Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey alongside influential performers Joe Allen and since-retired former captain Ashley Williams.

After seeing them shine on the European stage, Wales endured more World Cup qualifying pain when they failed to reach Russia 2018.

Coleman declined the chance to stay in charge after that, heading for Sunderland instead with Giggs taking over.

His assistant Page assumed the managerial role after Giggs was accused of coercive behaviour and assault against his ex-girlfriend and her sister. Giggs has pleaded not guilty to the charges and his trial is scheduled to start on 8 August, 2022.

Under Page, Bale and his team-mates now have the World Cup to savour.

“It was their last chance and they deserve it,” Coleman, now coaching Greek side Atromitos, told BBC Radio Wales.

“In 2012 they were labelled the ‘golden generation’. I remember saying to them to not worry about it, you qualify and then you earn that tag – they’ve gone above and beyond that.

“They’re the heartbeat of the team, they’ve done an incredible job for their country.

“Dare to dream, look where we are, the World Cup. It is incredible the fact we’re in the 32 teams being shown around the world.

“We’re good enough to be there and we’re good enough to compete.”

Coleman is also looking forward to witnessing Wales’ efforts building up to – and then in Qatar.

“It’s an amazing feeling to think we’re planning for a World Cup, I’m so proud of Pagey,” he added.

“They’ve done an incredible job, they deserve it and I can’t wait for it to come around.

“After we qualified for the Euros in France we said it couldn’t be another 20 years before we qualified again.

“Since that, we missed out on the World Cup against Republic of Ireland, then we qualified for Euro 2020 and now we’re at a World Cup with Pagey.

“Something happened after that first qualification – and thank the Lord it has happened twice.”



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