Bruce: Van Gaal must find role for Giggs
Steve Bruce has urged Louis van Gaal to find a role for Ryan Giggs at Manchester United after warning the Dutchman that he faces a daunting rebuilding job at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal, the Holland coach, is expected to be secured as United's new manager within 24 hours after he emerged as the favoured candidate to replace the sacked David Moyes. However, with Giggs, the interim manager, still uncertain about his future at the club, Van Gaal's first decision is likely to centre around how to accommodate the 40-year-old in his plans at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal is understood to have decided not to include Patrick Kluivert, the Holland assistant, in his backroom team and, with fellow Dutch coach Danny Blind choosing to remain with the national team, it would appear to have paved the way for Giggs to be offered a senior role in the coaching department.
Bruce, the former United captain who takes his Hull City team to United tonight, insists that Giggs can play a crucial part in helping Van Gaal to succeed as manager at Old Trafford.
"There's always going to be a place for Ryan at United because he has been a great there," Bruce said. "But it's a difficult one to call because if it is Van Gaal, he will have his own opinions on it. But I'm sure they will find a space for Ryan.
"He'll do something and I don't think he'll leave. He will be treated properly, I'm convinced of that, and he will have some role to play. Ryan may still have a role as a player. If Ryan feels up to it, why wouldn't you keep him on?
"I saw him play a few weeks ago, and he still looks a very good player to me. If he was to be available on a free this summer, I'd take him."
Having witnessed Giggs' emergence as a raw talent at United in the early 1990s, Bruce admits that he always sensed the Welshman was destined for stardom. He believes that, when Giggs eventually gets a chance of management full time, he can go on to replicate his playing success.
"He is the only one I've seen who, when we all saw him, we all said straight away: 'This kid is a superstar,'" Bruce said. "It was unbelievable watching him at 16. Sometimes you use 'great' too often, but he's been one of United's greats and there will never be another one like him.
"Doing as well as a manager as he has done as a player is going to be difficult because the success he's had is quite remarkable. But I think the way he handled his first press conference proved to me that he can be as good as he wants to be.
"If he wants to do it, make no mistake, he'll be a success. We've seen (Pep) Guardiola, (Jurgen) Klinsmann and (Kenny) Dalglish do it. Ryan is driven that way. He's a tough so and so."
The Hull manager added: "I spoke to Ryan 10 days ago. I wished him good luck and welcomed him to the crazy side of the game.
"If he gets the job or not, you have to remember that Ryan has been at United all his life and he has never been fazed by anything."
United's defeat at home by Sunderland at the weekend – their seventh Old Trafford defeat in the Premier League this season – highlighted the problems that will face Van Gaal when he takes charge at the club.
The former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach is likely to see the long-serving Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand following Nemanja Vidic out of the exit door this summer, leaving the new manager with the challenge of building a new back four ahead of his first campaign at the helm.
Bruce, who captained United to their first two Premier League titles under Alex Ferguson, believes that the defensive work required at Old Trafford will hand Van Gaal an instant problem.
"It is a hard job because time catches up with everybody and that is there to see with the players in United's back four," Bruce said.
"Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have been United's back four for almost 10 years and how do you replace them?
"No matter how many millions you have, it is not going to be easy to find players to come in and replace guys like that. In Vidic and Ferdinand alone, you have two centre-halves with years of experience that you just cannot find easily.
"Van Gaal has a fantastic record in management, though, and when he gets it, he will be taking charge of a fantastic club. I had 10 years there and even now, 15 years after I left, I still get letters from people asking about my time there.
"It is a global club and a really big job and whoever comes in is going to have to live up to the standards set by the former boss (Ferguson)." (© Daily Telegraph, London)