Sunday 11 December 2016

Richard Sadlier: If United want a new manager they'd be foolish to give the gig to Giggs

Published 31/01/2016 | 17:00

Everyone’s first job is their first job, but United are not in a position now to take a gamble. Nick Potts/PA Wire
Everyone’s first job is their first job, but United are not in a position now to take a gamble. Nick Potts/PA Wire

You'd wonder what's going on in the mind of Ryan Giggs. Amid reports that he might quit Manchester United if he isn't given the job when Louis van Gaal leaves, would he really like to see a United resurgence? Would United reaching the FA Cup final please him, for instance? Would a late push for the Premier League excite him? Or is personal ambition the driving force now, and does he want Van Gaal to fail?

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Most assistant managers are tied to the fortunes of their boss, but not Giggs. Why is nobody suggesting that his stint with Van Gaal is a failure like his time with David Moyes? The vast majority of coaches are in some way linked to the performances of their team, but that doesn't seem to have ever applied to Giggs. He's either been limited in his involvement or the players aren't listening to him or he's just as culpable as anyone in how they've been playing. He doesn't come out looking well in any of those scenarios, yet remarkably he's a contender to be the next boss.

Given he has no meaningful managerial experience, he doesn't belong on any list with Jose Mourinho. Even in his four games in temporary charge after Moyes' sacking - which included a defeat at Old Trafford against Sunderland - he made little difference. In any case, there is hardly a club in world football that would favour Giggs over Mourinho. Even Chelsea would probably consider taking him back if the only alternative was Giggs. Real Madrid too. If you didn't allow his playing ability to cloud your judgment, there is no case for putting Giggs in charge of United. Influencing a game on the field is very different to doing it from the bench.

Think back to all the doubts about Moyes at the time of his appointment. He had never managed in the Champions League group stages, let alone won the thing. He had never even won a major trophy. He had no experience of managing the top players in the game, or been in charge of a club with the expectations associated with United. Moyes had far greater credentials than Giggs does.

If people are being seduced by his achievements as a player, or his understanding of the club and its history, then why not go for Mark Hughes? Or Roy Keane? If nostalgia and sentiment are the drivers here, bring back Steve Bruce. Every one of them has what Giggs has in that regard, but in addition, they've all actually been in charge of a club. They've bought and sold players, dropped them and picked them again. Giggs' only experience of this has been witnessing others do it. As for the 'yes, but he's learned from the best' line, having spent so long under Alex Ferguson, does that mean Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is also in the frame?

Managers have to start somewhere, I know. Everyone's first job is their first job, but United are not in a position now to take a gamble of this kind. The club is too big and their position is too uncertain. He may deserve to be considered in the future, but he doesn't now.

Real Madrid's appointment of Zinedine Zidane doesn't counter this in any way. United are finished if they're looking to Florentino Perez for guidance in this area. And when Pep Guardiola took over at Barcelona, their squad was formed and the structure of the club was well established. United are in flux in both areas at the moment. Hiring a rookie to rebuild their empire could set them back years.

Giggs may well quit the club if he is overlooked, an understandable move if he's keen to get into management. There won't be a shortage of clubs tempted by his profile, his background and his contacts in the game. It would seem the right thing to do given his personal ambitions. Leaving Old Trafford now wouldn't rule out a return in the future, when he would be far better equipped.

If he is overlooked, he may choose to stay on and bide his time further, but that should be the decision of the new United manager. A presence like Giggs may appear like a stabilising influence to the club's hierarchy, but how welcome would he be to Van Gaal's successor?

A dressing room is an unforgiving environment at the best of times and every manager knows it. There are enough challenges to deal with without having someone inside it desperate for your job. Giggs isn't ready to manage United and has talked himself out of being an assistant. It's time for United to wish him well and move on without him.

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