RYAN Giggs passed his first test as the new Wales manager by simply turning up for the press conference.

The hoary old jokes doing the rounds on social media suggested that the 44-year-old might feel a slight hamstring strain on his way to Hensol Castle yesterday afternoon and be forced to pull out.

Giggs doesn’t do social media, as he pointed out on several occasions yesterday. And it’s just as well because the reaction from a lot of Wales football fans to his appointment has been predictably negative.

Pointing to his patchy attendance record for friendly games as a player, many supporters have questioned Giggs’ commitment to the Welsh cause.

It was a question that was inevitably put on numerous occasions as he was introduced to the media and one that he appeared reluctant to tackle head on.

Giggs said all the right things about winning over his critics by producing results and he defended his playing record as much as he could, while not disagreeing with suggestions that Sir Alex Ferguson had a hand in a lot of those squad withdrawals.

The reality is that he knows he is in a difficult position and he knows that he has his work cut out to put the issue to bed.

Some fans will never accept Giggs but, importantly, he seems to recognise the need to put in the hard yards to at least try to win the hearts and minds of the nation.

Quite apart from all his success on the pitch, Chris Coleman won plenty of admiration for his willingness to travel the length and breadth of the nation to meet fans at grassroot level.

And Giggs has pledged to do the same over the next few months and years.

“That is something that I’ve actually done over the last couple of years with my ambassador role in Welsh football with McDonald’s,” he said.

“Over the last few years I’ve been to Wrexham, I’ve been to Swansea and I’ve been to Fishguard and seen the local communities and the great work that they do so that’s not alien to me.

“I realise that it’s important and I know the great work that Cookie did regarding that and I want to carry that on.”

South Wales Argus:

Coleman’s are big shoes to fill on and off the pitch. He has gone down in history as Wales’ most successful manager after that incredible run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

But there was hardly universal acclaim when he was appointed to replace the late Gary Speed back in early 2012.

Like Giggs he was hardly a stranger to lurid tabloid headlines and there were plenty of question marks over his managerial record.

Coleman did at least have some experience but brief and unsuccessful spells at Coventry City and Real Zaragoza were hardly inspiring.

And there were many, myself included, who would have been happy to see him shown the door after a dreadful start to his reign, culminating in that 6-1 humiliation in Serbia.

Coleman slowly won over the critics after vowing to do things his way and the rest is history.

Giggs at least deserves the chance to prove the doubters wrong and he will hope that the Together Stronger motto is extended to include him.

Like Coleman he seems to recognise the need to be his own man and his first task will be to sort out his backroom staff.

Giggs said he was looking for someone with experience and revealed that his coaching team would be a mix of Welsh and non-Welsh, suggesting that there could be room for one of his old Manchester United pals.

It’s unclear at this stage what role, if any, there will be for Coleman’s number two Osian Roberts.

He has been widely recognised as a key part of the success of the last five years and was interviewed for the top job over the past few weeks.

Giggs was non-committal when asked about Roberts yesterday and the feeling is that he might not be part of the new regime.

“There’s a conversation to be had there,” said the new manager.

“What Osian has done for welsh football – and will continue to do in his technical director role – is great.

“I know him, I know how he feels about Welsh football and the passion he has. There’s a conversation to be had.”

Roberts would bring continuity and would perhaps be able to ease the transition from the Coleman era to the Giggs era, just as he did after the death of Speed in 2011.

But Giggs has to forge his own way if he is to have a chance of succeeding and silencing those critics once and for all.