By Steffan Thomas
KEELAN Giles insists he hasn’t given up on a place at next year’s World Cup as he targets a return from injury hell by October.
The 20-year-old Ospreys wing has been out of action since suffering a horror cruciate knee ligament injury against the Dragons in the first few months of last season.
Next year’s global showpiece is just 14 months away and it leaves Giles facing a race against time to force his way into Warren Gatland’s squad.
However the confident speedster still believes he is in with a realistic chance of making it to Japan and can offer Gatland something a bit different as a wide option.
“I’d be lying if I said the World Cup wasn’t a target. Every player in Wales wants to play there,” Giles told The Rugby Paper.
“It’s going to be difficult with so many good wingers, but if I can get a run of games I can then hopefully show people what I can do.
“The likes of Steffan Evans and Josh Adams are quality players. I watched this summer’s games on TV and they were both outstanding.
“But it’s nice to have healthy competition and it was great to see the young boys stepping up and beating Argentina.
“I still think I offer something a bit different to other wings with my pace so maybe that will help.”
Giles is yet to win a senior international cap, but has been tipped for the top from a young age.
He was a shock call-up for Wales’ three-Test tour to New Zealand in 2016 having been withdrawn from the Junior World Cup and was then an unused substitute as Gatland’s side scraped past Japan 18-17 in Cardiff a few months later.
Giles hasn’t been in the international environment since and added: “It was a bit frustrating not getting on against Japan, but, looking back at it, I realise I’m still young.
“It was pretty daunting getting called to New Zealand in 2016 but I learnt a lot being in a senior international environment and getting a feel for what it takes to succeed at the highest level.
“I’ve got plenty of time ahead to pursue international honours and if I can get a run of games, I’m confident I can do that.”
Giles hopes to return for the Ospreys in October and believes marquee signings Scott Williams and George North can help the Liberty Stadium outfit compete for silverware once again.
He said: “I am very excited for this season especially because the squad and the back-room team has been freshened up.
“Matt Sherratt coming in will be a big help because he’s a top quality coach.
“Last season was one to forget, but we want to get back to winning silverware and we need a winning mentality to do that.
“There’s a lot of competition on the wing. I am excited to play with George who has reached the pinnacle of the game and is a world-class player.
“I’d definitely rather be playing with him than against him.”
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