Wales kick off Nations League opener

6 September 2018, 19:01 | Updated: 6 September 2018, 19:05

ryan giggs

Ryan Giggs handed starts to David Brooks and Ethan Ampadu in his first competitive game as Wales boss against Ireland.

The selection of Bournemouth forward Brooks and Chelsea midfielder Ampadu for the UEFA Nations League opener ended any doubts over their international futures as the England-born pair had previously only featured in friendly matches.

Real Madrid striker Gareth Bale returned as Giggs made five changes from the side which held Mexico to a goalless draw in California in May.

Joe Allen resumed in midfield alongside Ampadu and Aaron Ramsey, while Swansea's Connor Roberts replaced Chris Gunter at right-back.

Seamus Coleman captained the Republic in his first competitive international fixture since suffering a double leg break against Wales in a World Cup qualifier 18 months ago.

Coleman was one of five players who had remained from the Republic's last fixture, a 2-1 frinedly victory over the United States in June.

Shane Duffy, Callum O'Dowda, Jeff Hendrick and Jon Walters also started again as manager Martin O'Neill juggled his injury-hit squad.

Among those missing were James McClean, who scored the Republic's World Cup winner against Wales last October, and Harry Arter and Declan Rice, who had both made themselves unavailable.