Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted Ryan Giggs could have succeeded him as Manchester United manager had the winger retired from football five years earlier.
The Welshman was still a first-team regular when Ferguson stepped down in 2013. He would go on to play most of the next season under David Moyes, later becoming their caretaker manager after Moyes was relieved with four Premier League games remaining.
Now Louis van Gaal's assistant, Giggs has already been tipped to take over from the Dutchman when his contract expires in 2017, but Ferguson believes the 41-year-old could already be in charge at Old Trafford had he learned his trade under him.
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However, the United legend, who was speaking in the BBC documentary 'Sir Alex Ferguson: Secrets of Success', also admits he would have never pressured Giggs into retirement.
“If Ryan Giggs had retired six, seven years ago,” Ferguson says, according to the Telegraph. “Say he had retired at, say, 35, quite likely I would have made him my assistant and quite likely he could have moved straight into the job with the experience of being an assistant manager to me as he is doing with Louis van Gaal at the moment. But I would never have asked a player to quit.”
Giggs, who made a record 963 appearances for the Red Devils, is as much a cult hero as Ferguson himself and you would be hard pushed to find a fan who does not think he deserves a chance in the United hot seat. Indeed, virtually every bookmaker has him installed as their favourite to succeed Van Gaal.
Ferguson's admission still came as a surprise to the 13-time Premier League winner, who admitted he would have been tempted by the idea of being his assistant.
In response to his comments, Giggs said: “He said that?... It would have been great for me personally to work under Sir Alex.”
The documentary will air on BBC One at 10.30pm on Sunday October 11.