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Ryan Giggs should follow Zinedine Zidane’s example and stick with Manchester United

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Ryan Giggs has a big decision to make in the coming weeks: should he stick with Manchester United or take a risk and leave for a managerial position at another club?

There are, of course, risks involved with both approaches available to the Welshman.

If he decides to stay then he will, it seems, have to accept a diminished role at the club.

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Mourinho’s right-hand man Rui Faria will follow his leader to Old Trafford to take Giggs’ job as assistant manager, leaving Giggs with a coaching job further down the pecking order and no concrete guarantees that he will, one day, get the job that he craves.

Should the 42-year-old decide to leave United, however, he faces a tough challenge to prove himself as a manager and worthy of the United job away from the security of Old Trafford.

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There have been 29 former players who played under Sir Alex Ferguson at United who have taken the plunge into management, the latest of them being Gary Neville, who severely struggled at Valencia and was sacked after just three months in charge.

Of the 29 (which does include Giggs after his four-game stint at the end of the 2013-14 season) only Steve Bruce and Mark Hughes are currently managing Premier League sides, while Laurent Blanc remains the most successful manager with his dominant PSG team in Ligue 1.

One name on that list stands out when considering Giggs: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Norwegian, who made 366 appearances for United, scoring 126 goals and winning six league titles, two FA Cups and one Champions League, began his managerial training at Old Trafford when he took on the role of Manchester United's reserve team manager in 2008.

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In 2011, after a successful stint in the United reserves, Solskjaer left to become manager of the Norwegian side, Molde FK.

Solskjaer won back-to-back league titles in Norway in 2011 and 2012 as well as the Norwegian Cup in 2013, as his managerial career looked set to take off.

Then the Premier League came calling.

The former United striker was appointed as the boss of newly promoted Cardiff City on January 2, 2014.

Cardiff were relegated at the end of the season and Solskjaer was sacked in September later that year, after a poor start to the Championship season.

Fulham v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship

He returned to manage Molde in October 2015 and currently sees his team sitting in third place in the Tippeligaen.

While the player who was nicknamed “The Baby-faced Assassin” has found success as a manager in the Norwegian League, his story should act as a warning to Giggs as the Welshman ponders his next move.

Giggs should instead be encouraged and should look to follow the example of Zinedine Zidane.

Zidane, like Giggs, served as an assistant manager at his former club, Real Madrid, in 2013-14 before going on to manage Real Madrid Castilla from 2014 to 2016.

In January 2016, Zidane finally took the reins of Los Blancos, having been overlooked in the summer of 2015, and guided them to Champions League glory and a second place finish in La Liga, just one point behind Barcelona.

Real Madrid v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final

Manchester United are in a vastly different place to Real Madrid at the moment and Giggs cannot feel too aggrieved that he has been overlooked by the decision makers at Old Trafford, for now.

Jose Mourinho is the best manager available to United at the moment and the club must attempt to get back to their winning ways in an increasingly competitive and unpredictable Premier League.

Giggs, with his few games-worth of managerial experience, could never have truly expected the job, but if he is genuinely focused on taking the Manchester United job after Mourinho, then he would be better following Zidane’s example and sticking at Old Trafford.

Patience is a virtue and in a footballing world where patience is severely lacking, Giggs could well jeopardise his hopes of a managerial career at Old Trafford should he cut the cord with United.

A step down to the Manchester United under 21s, while not being quite as competitive as Real Madrid Castilla, would give Giggs a chance to manage players, implement tactics and organise a match-day, all with the added bonus of learning from one of the most successful and influential managers of the modern game and remaining in a safe, and patient, environment.

Manchester United v Crystal Palace - The Emirates FA Cup Final

The unpredictable nature of football makes it the enthralling spectacle that it is and there is a chance that Giggs will succeed and go on to be a world-class manager away from Old Trafford, before returning to manage United with a big managerial reputation.

History, however, suggests otherwise and Giggs would be well advised to stay put for the time being and follow Zidane’s lead.

It would be a brave decision should he decide to leave, but he must be wary of what has happened to Gary Neville and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in particular, which proves that a managerial career away from Old Trafford is like swimming in open-water with the sharks constantly circling not too far away.

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Topics:
Zinedine Zidane
Alex Ferguson
Manchester United
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Gary Neville
Football
Premier League
Ryan Giggs
Jose Mourinho

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