Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs says he would have been a good fit in new boss Louis van Gaal’s 3-5-2 system in his early playing days.
Using the formation to great effect during the Netherlands’ run to the World Cup semi-finals, van Gaal has carried over his tactics into his role with Manchester United during pre-season, beating rivals Liverpool 3-1 to win the International Champions Cup, after previous victories over Roma, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
Known for his marauding runs down the left-flank in his prime at Old Trafford, Giggs believes he would have been well-suited to the wing-back role back then, but concedes it would have tough later on in his career with the sheer amount of running required.
‘Early on in my career, yeah, it wouldn’t have been a problem,’ he told the club’s official website.
‘Maybe later on, though, it would have been a bit tougher because obviously you’ve got to do a lot of running.
‘You’ve got to cover a lot distance, but we’ve got the players to do it and I think that’s what’s been great about this young squad at the moment. We can adapt to different systems and different styles of play.’
Ending his playing career after last season, Giggs was named Louis van Gaal’s assistant in May, following the announcement of the Dutchman’s post-World Cup arrival, and the United legend has admitted that the players have had a lot on their plate trying to adapt to the new coaching methods.
‘Mentally and tactically it has been tough. The first three games we were playing with a different shape, so a lot of the players may not have played in it before,’ he said.
‘There have been a lot of meetings and going over training, just trying to make the players more tactically aware and be better players individually and as a team.
‘To be honest with you, they’ve taken it all on board, and I think they’re enjoying this new experience.’
Looking to improve upon last season’s disappointing seventh-place Premier League finish, United’s pre-season performances have been hugely encouraging, but the true test of van Gaal’s system will be when the campaign kicks off proper in just over a week’s time.