Ryan Giggs opens up on being made to feel 'different' because of race

Wales boss Ryan Giggs says he is "immensely proud" of his mixed background, with his father, former rugby player Danny Wilson, being black, and his mother, Lynne Giggs, being white

Wales head coach Ryan Giggs
Image: Wales head coach Ryan Giggs is of mixed-race background

Ryan Giggs has spoken about how he was made to feel "different" because of his mixed-race heritage after moving from Wales to England as a child.

The Wales manager, 46, also said he had "no hesitation" in taking the knee to support the "important message" of the Black Lives Matter movement at recent international games.

Giggs spoke about his experiences to former Wales rugby International Richard Parks for ITV Wales programme Can I Be Welsh And Black?, looking at the significance of ethnicity in today's Wales.

The former Manchester United winger said he was "immensely proud" of his mixed background, with his father, former rugby player Danny Wilson, being black, and his mother, Lynne Giggs, being white.

The family moved to Manchester from Cardiff when Giggs was seven after his father signed for rugby league side Swinton.

Asked about the first time he was made to feel "different" because of his race, Giggs said: "I didn't experience anything in Cardiff. I was seven, so I can't remember a lot before that. It wasn't until I moved to Manchester.

"Where I lived, my dad was very well known, because he was such a good player. He was probably the best player in the team in that town.

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"As you can guess, to look at me, you wouldn't think my dad was black.

England and Wales players take a knee before kick-off during a October friendly at Wembley
Image: England and Wales players take a knee before kick-off during their friendly at Wembley earlier this month

"But obviously everyone knowing that was my dad, and my dad quite clearly being black, that's really when I sort of experienced the first time. Which was a bit weird, because I'd never experienced that before."

Giggs said he would define himself as "mixed race", but that he had never decided to "shout about" the fact, saying: "It's just who I am."

He also spoke about his memories of visiting "home" to see his black cousins in Cardiff's docks area.

"It was weird because when I was in Manchester there was no black people at my school. One or two. And obviously when I go back home I'm just surrounded by my dad's family," Giggs said.

"I loved it. There used to be a carnival every year down the docks, and I used to love going to that. It was just normal for me. It was great for me to have that diversity."

Asked what it meant being mixed race and Welsh at this point in life, Giggs responded: "I think immensely proud, first of all."

He said the decision to take the knee along with his Wales players at recent international games was to show the nation "didn't put up with discrimination or racism".

"There was no hesitation with myself and with my staff and with the team," he said.

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