During the torturously laboured contract negotiations between Manchester United and Jose Mourinho, one of the most frequently discussed topics in the media was the potential impact the deal would have on Ryan Giggs. It is widely believed that as Mourinho puts his faith firmly in a close circle of lieutenants, Giggs will almost certainly be demoted from his role of assistant manager.
The perceived wisdom is that Giggs should reject Manchester United’s olive branch of a new role and seek pastures new after 29 years of service at the club. Indeed, BBC Sport’s chief football writer Phil McNulty wrote “he wouldn’t be short of offers” if he began looking for the opportunity to prove himself as a manager. This may well be true, but while his record as a player is beyond reproach, his ability as a coach is not. What has he achieved in his short career since retiring as a player to warrant this anticipated deluge of interest in him?Publi
Publically, Giggs has been practically silent during Louis van Gaal’s regime. There has been speculation he has chosen to keep his distance from the Dutchman so as not to be tarnished by the team’s indifferent performances during the past two years. Maybe it’s actually because he didn’t have the answers to solve van Gaal’s problems. When given the reins himself as the club’s interim player-manager following David Moyes’ sacking, his record of two wins, a draw and a defeat during the final four games of the 2013–14 season is hardly overwhelming.
Could it be that people simply want to see a club legend become a great manager in the mould of Pep Guardiola? It seems highly unlikely Giggs will be able to come close to replicating the achievements of the new Manchester City manager. More pertinently perhaps, he should be aware of the experience of another Manchester United hero; Bobby Charlton was relegated as manager of Preston North End.
At the very least, Giggs should accept he can still learn a lot from working alongside Mourinho and, if offered the opportunity, should choose to stay at the club a little longer yet.