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Interview: Young star Ryan Giles staying humble as he forges a Wolves future

By Tim Spiers | Wolves | Published:

He's 18 years old with the world at his feet and has enjoyed a impressive few months in his burgeoning career to date.

Ryan Giles hopes he has a big future ahead of him (© AMA / James Baylis)

Yet Ryan Giles isn't getting carried away in the slightest.

Like his head coach at Wolves he's keeping his mantra simple – "work hard and stay humble"...and try to impress at all times, whether that's by sprinting down the wing and putting over a perfect cross, or merely by cleaning some first team boots.

The Telford-born winger spoke to the Express & Star during one of the biggest weeks of his life – training and playing with the first team squad out in Switzerland, having been plucked from the under-18s to be handed the opportunity of a lifetime.

It's one he's grasping with both hands, certainly if Tuesday's eye-catching display against Champions League regulars Basel is anything to go by when Giles was a constant nuisance down the left flank.

Giles found out he'd got the Switzerland call just a couple of days before the squad flew out.

His first emotion wasn't nerves or excitement, but relief. Relief at getting his big chance.

Giles in action against Xamax in a practice match last weekend (© AMA / Sam Bagnall)

"I heard quite late," Giles said at the club's picturesque Montreux hotel. "I was training with them all week at Compton so you look at it asking 'am I going to go?' but the gaffer told us after a session a few days before, he just said we were off to Switzerland.

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"It was a massive relief when I heard. All I wanted was the opportunity to go.

"It was playing on my mind all week when I was training with the first team. It was plain and simple relief and I was over the moon.

"I trained with the first team quite a lot last season. It was mainly when the lads had a game and then the players who didn't play would get an 8 v 8 or something, I was always involved.

"I feel like I did myself justice (against Basel). It was thanks to the people around me and the support – because at times you feel edgy coming into the first team when you're a young lad and you want to impress that bad – it takes that pressure off a bit.

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"It's been enjoyable straight away, even playing with the players you're playing with makes you a better player.

"The way they approach and speak to you helps. They say to go and express yourself instead of playing safe, so I've done that."

He certainly expressed himself at Telford towards the end of last season. The Bucks, then managed by Wolves Under-23 boss Rob Edwards, were in dire relegation trouble with just a couple of months of the campaign to go but two goals and seven assists in nine appearances helped pull them to safety.

Giles starred for Telford on loan

The teenager then scooped Wolves' academy player of the year award in May – and is now training and playing with Ruben Neves, Diogo Jota, Helder Costa and co in Switzerland.

Things couldn't be going much better right now for the Telford-born player – and he's keen for the good times to continue.

"Telford did me the world of good," he continued. "I think it was something I needed. At the time I was playing under-18s football and I needed a bit of a challenge.

"The staff came to me and said it would be something out of my comfort zone. Telford was perfect for that.

"I wasn't expecting to get as many games as I did but I thought I've got to take the opportunity.

"It's helped me when coming here because there was big pressure at Telford due to where they were in the table, the fans were edgy and it was a great experience which has helped.

"The past few months are all a massive confidence boost. I don't think about it too much, I try to keep my head down and keep pushing and trying to impress.

"The club are showing belief in me. It's all good."

As well as gaining invaluable experience at Telford last season, Giles also had the pleasure of watching first-hand Wolves storm to the Championship title.

Now that he's mixing with the first team and being tutored by Nuno Espirito Santo, he's learning at a quick rate.

"It's good to interact with the senior boys and see the way they are and the way they play. You can compare that then with your group.

"I feel at times, especially out here, the togetherness of the team is second to none and I think that's what's got them success.

"I went to the majority of home games last season. Seeing that, the way they've been taught to play, was invaluable.

"Due to the formation they play, wing-back is the ideal position for me. I'm a winger who likes to stay wide, obviously in this formation you have the wing-backs and then the three 10s, as they say, who play inside.

"I've always been left or right side on the wings. But this formation is good – it's definitely good for my fitness! You don't half do some running.

"But you get a lot of space. The way they play the full-backs always have time and there's always the chance to feed you the ball, so you can express yourself in one-v-one situations.

"I think that's my trade, going forward in one-v-ones and producing crosses."

Giles talking to our man Tim Spiers at Wolves' hotel in Montreux, Switzerland

Nuno has given opportunities to young players since arriving as Wolves boss, none more so than Morgan Gibbs-White who is the same age as Giles.

Giles says Under-17 World Cup winner Gibbs-White has set the template for the rest of the club's youngsters to follow – and hailed Nuno as an 'inspiration'.

"For the gaffer to give me the experience out here, I can't thank him enough," a grateful Giles said.

"The way he is as a manager is inspiration really. The way he is with the lads, he's fully humble and will always think we have to push for more.

"My main goal is obviously to get into the first team, even if it's just a cup game, any chance I can get.

"I haven't really thought about what my targets are though. I presume they'll talk to me when we get back to England with some feedback. If I go out on loan that's fine, I'll do what the club want me to.

"Morgan's a great example because he's achieved so much but his feet are on the ground and he keeps pushing for more.

"He has proved himself to be a top player. His attitude shines through and that's why he is where he is.

"I think that's the attitude you need to go through football and be the best."

It's clear Giles is a young man with his head in the right place. Even at aged 18 he can see he'll get nowhere without professionalism, humility, hard work and a great attitude to his craft.

If Tuesday's 45-minute cameo is anything to go by then he's on the right track. He's certainly thinking and saying all the right things – and now wants his football to do the talking.

"From a young age there have been learning barriers all the way through," Giles said.

"At times when you're young you can get that little bit cocky and then it backfires.

"I've been at Wolves for a long time and now I understand you've just got to stay humble and never get too over-confident and think you're there, because you're far from it.

"You're always going to get an opportunity, it's whether you take it.

"That opportunity can be anything, just going down and cleaning boots. Any interaction with the first team is an opportunity to impress the staff and the gaffer.

"I'm here at the moment so my aim is to smash it here and impress as much as I can. It's been an amazing experience for me."

Tim Spiers

By Tim Spiers
@tim_spiers_Star

Writes about Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club for a living

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