Manchester United manager: 5 former players in the frame

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Football News

Sir Alex Ferguson has reportedly had his say on who should replace him at the helm at Manchester United, with British football's longest serving manager tipping Ryan Giggs to continue his legacy.

The Welshman has recently signed a new one-year extension to his current contract, which will take him into a 22nd year at Old Trafford, as he closes in on 1,000 professional appearances.

Despite extending his career by another 12 months, Ferguson feels Giggs is ready made to take over the role, feelings endorsed by midfielder Paul Scholes, another who could sign a new deal following his January return.

“People have talked about Mourinho. It can change quickly ... it’s about who is successful at the time.," he said.

"Whether they are British or foreign, you just want the best man for the job. I could see Ryan Giggs becoming manager.”

Skeptics will say Giggs' lack of experience makes his possible appointment risky, despite his rapport with the United fans meaning he's be welcomed with open arms.

The success of clubs who have appointed former players is littered success and failure. Kenny Dalglish won three league titles and two FA Cups after taking over at Liverpool, while Alan Shearer's eight-game cameo as Newcastle United boss couldn't prevent relegation from the Premier League.

Given the difficulties with bringing in a new manager, appointing a popular former player is often the easiest way of assuring the transition is as seamless as possible.

But if Giggs isn't the man for United, which other former players could the club turn to?

Laurent Blanc

Currently: French national team manager

United career: Blanc spent two years at Old Trafford, winning the Premier League title in his second season, after a hopeless start to his United career after being brought to replace Jaap Stam.

Managerial credentials: Won the French league title in his second full season in charge of Bordeaux, the pre-curser to earning the managers job with France, who beat England on their way to qualifying for Euro 2012; where the true test of Blanc's managerial class lies.

Mark Hughes

Currently: Queens Park Rangers manager

United career: His double helped United collect their first European trophy, the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1991, while the partnership he forged with Eric Cantona helped United to the double in 1994. The purchase of Andy Cole all but ended his United career, as he was crudely sold to Chelsea

Credentials: After taking Wales without a second-legged play-off of qualifying for Euro 2004, Hughes took to the helm at Blackburn Rovers where he qualified for the UEFA Cup and Manchester City where he was shamefully sacked after 18 months. After a year at Fulham he went seeking a greater challenge, and found QPR, with the west Londoners in the Premier League's bottom three.

Roy Keane

Currently: Unemployed

United career: One of Ferguson's best ever signings, Keane was the heart and sole of United from the moment he set foot at Old Trafford. After leaving United acrimoniously, Keane appeared to burn his bridges with the club, openly criticising the team and Ferguson during rumours television appearances.

Credentials: Took Sunderland to the Premier League in his first season in charge at the Stadium of Light, but left two years later after the Black Cats dropped into the bottom three. Later that season was appointed by Ipswich Town, but a torrid time at Portman Road saw him sacked in early 2011.

Brian McClair

Currently: Manchester United youth academy director

United career: Became the first United player to score 20 league goals in a season since George Best and went on to net United's first ever goal in the Premier League. Won four league titles, three FA Cups, notching in his second final and showed much needed flexibility in his latter years. A great servant.

Credentials: Limited success as United's reserve team manager, having won just one league title, but it's his knowledge of the blueprint of a United player makes him a valuable asset.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Currently: Molde manager

United career: The baby faced assassin built a reputation of scoring late goals during his time at Old Trafford, famously against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. Recovered from numerous injuries before finally retiring in 2007. Regarded as one of the club's greatest ever players.

Credentials: After having won the Lancashire Senior Cup and Manchester Senior Cup with United's reserves, Solskjaer joined Molde on a four-year deal in 2010. He won the club's first ever Norwegian title last season and has since been tipped by Ferguson to eventually succeed him.

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