The appointment of Ryan Giggs as Manchester United’s player-coach next season made more sense than practically any other footballing decision made in the last week.
With Sir Alex Ferguson gone, and with successor David Moyes bringing his Everton backroom staff to Old Trafford, giving the job to Giggs was a master-class in winning over your new fans even before a ball has been kicked.
Long-touted as a United manager of the future, the 39-year-old Welshman is now beginning the steps that may one day take him there.
Managing his body to somehow perform as he approaches the start of his fifth decade is just the beginning. Now Giggs needs to learn how to manage players, too.
On the midfielder’s new role Moyes said, “His success and ability to adapt his game over a number of years gives him an unrivalled perspective on the modern game.”
It is a perspective that the next generation of United players will benefit from greatly. And having been there since the start of Ferguson’s success story, it will be interesting to see just how much the one-time winger absorbed from his former boss.
Softly spoken but innately talented, Gigg’s similarities to Pep Guardiola don’t stop there. Just as the Spaniard began his coaching career by overseeing Barcelona B, so Giggs will switch from player to educator for the men he once called teammates.
His transition is not as complete as Guardiola. Where the now-Bayern Munich manager stopped playing before he began coaching, so Giggs will do both.
But in what is almost certain to be his last season as a player, Giggs will then earn the Uefa Pro Licence next summer, after which don’t be surprised to see him as successful from the side-lines as he was when he marauded down them.
To think Giggs will follow in the footsteps of Guardiola simply because of their histories on the pitch and their demeanours off it would be foolhardy.
And yet something suggests that is exactly what will happen; that just as the Spaniard ultimately oversaw the team he once graced, so Giggs will return to manage the side whose rejuvenation he played such a vital part in.
Do you think Giggs has what it takes to be Manchester United manager one day?
image: © apasciuto