There’s a chance he’ll be offered the job before this season’s out, but if it’s Ryan Giggs’ destiny to manage Manchester United - and he intends to make a success of it - my advice to him would be to suck it up, and fly the Old Trafford nest ASAP.
As second favourite behind Jose Mourinho to replace under-fire Louis van Gaal that may sound like lunacy, but stealing the odd glance at his mentor’s notebook, and acting as the Dutchman’s balls, bibs and cones guy can’t possibly have prepared him for a job of this magnitude.
It’s too soon, and there’s too much to do. In spite of his incredible playing experience, I fear the task in hand would swallow him up.
Post-Moyes, when United sat down to map it all out, the pathway would have seemed perfectly smooth.
For three progressive seasons Giggs would listen, learn and absorb great wisdom from the master tactician, while Van Gaal (aided by a cavernous war chest) restored the club to its rightful place among football’s elite. From a position of great strength they’d wave LVG off into retirement in 2017, and the kingdom would be handed to their prodigal son.
Yet in reality that was always sentimental claptrap.
For even if United were in a stable enough position to take a gamble on the 41-year-old as their next head coach (which they’re not) should a club of their size and magnitude even begin to consider appointing a manager that has never actually been a manager before?
Common sense tells me the answer has to be no.
If you’re big enough to attract the most experienced and successful people on the planet, why would you chance your arm on a rookie?
Respect in the game, as well as a great affiliation with the club are both outstanding positives - and it’s true that Barcelona and Real Madrid were happy to take punts on Pep Guardiola and Zinedine Zidane.
Yet both legends had at least cut their teeth in management with the B teams. They’d had a taste of being number one.
How do we know (how does Giggs know?) if he can make the right decisions under pressure, read tactical situations properly in the heat of the moment, or articulate his message to the players in the right tone at the right time, until he’s actually forced into doing it for real?
As an assistant he hasn’t had to do that. It’s a totally different role.
Some will point out that Giggs has managed before, but with United’s 2013-14 campaign all but over and just pride to play for, his four-match caretaker tenure didn’t provide a genuine, high-pressure experience. His hand was free to some extent.
The only way the Welshman can really prove he cuts the mustard, is to take himself out of the Manchester United bubble, and start putting his own ideas into practice elsewhere; for real; outside his comfort zone; and with actual ramifications if things go wrong.
If he does that and does it well, then bossing Manchester United should become a viable option in the not-too-distant future.
Luis Enrique is a fine example. He worked for Barcelona B, Roma, and Celta Vigo, before returning to the Nou Camp, and the value of his experiences have shone through in Catalonia. He made mistakes, but still proved he was more than just a name.
Giggs, man and boy, has only ever known the Manchester United way.
The benefits of excelling in a new environment could be the making of him as a coach, and he’ll certainly become a more rounded person by working elsewhere. That’s something his old pal Gary Neville confessed was a motivation behind his recent move to Spain.
It baffles me to think that Ed Woodward is prepared to let Manchester City and Chelsea have a free run at Pep Guardiola this summer. At this point in time, he or Jose Mourinho must be the best-equipped options to help revive their glory days – and it’s not as if they can’t afford them.
As a huge fan of Giggsy I’d love him to have a crack at the Old Trafford hot seat one day, but to do the role justice it’s time for him to leave home and prove his worth as a boss.
If he’s good enough, it’s guaranteed he will find a way back.