Derby boss looking to add Ryan Giggs jersey to collection ahead of FA Cup tie
Published 28/01/2016 | 17:30
The signed, framed shirts in Paul Clement's office at Derby's training ground is a who's who of the world's greatest players - but the Rams head coach would like to make one significant addition to his collection.
Clement considers Ryan Giggs the best player in Manchester United's history and he could get his chance to collar the Welshman on Friday night when the Reds arrive at the iPro Stadium in the FA Cup.
Clement, a little under eight months into his first managerial role, worked with a long list of star players as Carlo Ancelotti's assistant at Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.
The shirts of David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are just some of the names that adorn the walls of the 43-year-old's office but pride of place goes to the England shirt worn by his late father, Dave, almost 40 years ago.
"That's my most prized possession," said Clement.
"I have some other nice signed shirts, a couple of others as well. But if I could add one shirt to the collection from Manchester United, it would have to be Ryan Giggs.
"He's their greatest-ever player. I might even ask for his training shirt."
Clement, is, to use his own words, "just a novice at this" but the FA Cup is already a competition in which he has enjoyed success as a coach.
The former PE teacher has two winners' medals from his time at Chelsea, where he was assistant to Guus Hiddink and then Ancelotti.
"I love the FA Cup, I really enjoyed it when I was at Chelsea. I had three goes at it and got a win twice," said Clement.
"The most memorable moments were coming out of the tunnel at Wembley, the national anthems, the cup on the podium. It was hairs on the back of the neck stuff for me. I had been working in academy football - it was amazing.
"The following year (2010) it was special again because it was a double-winning season, and that is a very, very rare thing."
Despite Louis van Gaal's problems at United, Clement believes the Dutchman remains one of the most revered managers of the modern era.
Ahead of the biggest game of his own brief managerial career, the Derby boss will be calling another recent great - his close friend Ancelotti - for some advice.
He said: "First of all I have those close to me at the club, that's what my assistants are for. But I'm in regular contact with Carlo. I've not spoken to him for a while but if I really need him I know he will be there for me.
"Will I speak to him before this game? Yes I think I will do. He's super calm. He will tell me to work with the players, get close to the players and ignore everything else.
"He always used to say 'control what you are in control of'. So that's what I'll try to do."
Anything other than victory for Van Gaal will heap further unwanted scrutiny and pressure on the United manager and Clement fancies Derby's chances.
"It wouldn't be that much of an upset if we beat Manchester United. Assuming we perform well, it's a fantastic opportunity," said Clement, who has virtually a full squad to choose from for the fourth-round tie, with the exception of Will Hughes (knee).