Ryan Giggs stated in September that he hopes to manage Manchester United one day in the future; but in order to eventually make that dream a reality he must start having a greater influence in his current role as the Red Devils’ assistant manager.
Working as number two to the massive personality that is Louis van Gaal was never going to be entirely straight-forward for the Welshman, who spent almost his entire 24-year playing career under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson, but so far things appear to be ticking along nicely despite unfounded speculation that the pair don’t see eye-to-eye.
Van Gaal understandably reacted badly to questions from reporters about their supposedly strained relationship in his press conference on Thursday, based solely on misleading footage from the dugout in the seconds after Ashley Young scored United’s all-important winning goal against Newcastle earlier this week.
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Some jumped to conclusions after the visibly delighted Van Gaal put his clenched hand to the stoney-faced Giggs’ chin - but to presume this obviously meant bad blood exists between the two men is laughable.
Because of the over-reaction from fans and the media alike, Giggs came out today with the usual spiel about how he and Van Gaal are getting on like a house on fire and that he is more than happy learning under the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager.
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Giggs: More than just a Yes Man?
Manchester United supporters, however, will be hoping - and it’s unclear whether this is or isn’t the case - that Giggs is more than just a Yes Man to Van Gaal.
While the United legend will be acutely aware that Van Gaal is the man in charge and what he says ultimately goes, the Welshman knows an awful lot more about Manchester United Football Club than the 63-year-old Dutch coach.
Giggs, having been at Old Trafford since 1987, knows the club and English football inside out and Van Gaal should be tapping into his vast experience at every available opportunity - from the players and opponents right though to tactics.
Van Gaal must listen to Giggs
One hopes that Van Gaal, widely considered a master tactician in his pomp, isn’t too stubborn to believe he knows it all - which, on the basis of what has been said about him in the past, certainly isn’t beyond the realms of possibility - leading him to dismiss Giggs’ words of wisdom.
United’s football this season under Van Gaal, while arguably effective, has been devoid of any entertainment.
Those fans who paid their hard-earned money for season tickets last summer, hoping Van Gaal’s arrival would herald the return of thrilling football after David Moyes’ ill-fated tenure, have been left short-changed.
But with a little more input from Giggs, who played a key role in the attack-minded football played by Manchester United for the best part of two decades, one suspects the Red Devils could become fun to watch again.
Giggs must do more to exert his influence
Is he doing enough, though, to exert his influence at Old Trafford?
Jose Mourinho worked as Van Gaal’s assistant at Barcelona and went on to achieve great success in his own right as a first-team coach.
The charismatic Portuguese manager would also be sure to have his say on footballing matters, without fearing potential repercussions from Van Gaal. This earned him respect.
Whether Giggs has earned the same respect from Van Gaal is doubtful, but by becoming a little more forceful with his views off the pitch, one suspects Manchester United will start to profit on it.
Will Ryan Giggs still be at Manchester United next season? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!