Neville: Van Gaal would be a risk, go with Giggs

Gary Neville has yet again reiterated his desire to see Ryan Giggs become Manchester United’s manager on a full time basis. Speaking on Monday Night Football, Neville said:

“I would have liked to have seen Ryan have two or three more games. He started well on Saturday, so let him have two or three more games to see whether he settles into the position and whether he can bed in and be given that role.

“There’s the idea that Ryan hasn’t got experience but he knows the club and there’s the idea that Van Gaal has massive experience, but doesn’t know the Premier League.

“I personally would like to see a British manager appointed because Manchester United have always appointed British managers.”

Neville has been very outspoken on the matter since David Moyes was officially sacked by the club last week, and his opinion has certainly split opinion amongst Manchester United fans. Although almost all United fans generally agree that Ryan Giggs will be Manchester United manager at some point in the future, there are disagreements as to when this notion should become a reality.

Manchester United’s impressive display against Norwich on Saturday has led many fans to believe that Giggs is ready to take the biggest job in football. The 4-0 result was good, but was ultimately no less than any expected given Norwich’s shocking recent form. The romantic in all United fans will be desperate to see Giggs take the job full time, but as a result of United’s shocking season, the time is not right for Giggs to take over. The need for a manager with a proven track record should outweigh the desire to see United’s greatest ever player take the helm. Ryan Giggs will be manager of Manchester United one day – There’s no disputing that, but the time is not right for him to take over whilst United are in the mess they are in. Although the rebuilding job needed may not be as large as some are suggesting, there is still serious work that needs to be done this summer in order to make United a competitive force once again. The need for an experienced winner as a manager is great, and Van Gaal fits the profile perfectly. Not only will he be capable of producing a United team that plays, attacking and adventurous football, but he will also lay the foundations for continued success once he has gone. His insistence to keep promoting players from clubs’ youth teams has paved the way for continued success for the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona, with both sides having a core of players from both Germany and Spain respectively.


Van Gaal’s extensive experience in the transfer market will also be invaluable given the drastic need for an overhaul of the squad this summer. United have clearly started the recruiting process early this year, given the debacle surrounding last summer, but Van Gaal will surely have his own targets in mind. Moyes’ inexperience dealing with high-profile transfers last year was clear for all to see, and if Giggs was to be given the job full time, there could be a danger that his inexperience could halt the rebuilding process just like Moyes’ and Woodward’s led to the shocking summer endured last season.

One of the biggest criticism’s of Ferguson was his decision not to take Moyes on as his assistant for a year in order for him to learn the ropes. This meant that when Moyes did eventually take over, he was completely taken aback by the magnitude of the job and was never able to successfully come to terms with that. Giggs has the knowledge that he has gained by working with Ferguson for so many years but even that is not enough to prepare someone for a job of this size.

Giggs himself admitted that he has struggled with certain aspects of management. Speaking in his post-match interview after the Norwich game, he said:

“I’m outside my comfort zone and I’ve quickly had to do so many things that I’ve never done.”

The situation United find themselves in going into the summer window is not one where they can afford to have someone at the helm who is not 100% comfortable with what he has to do. Giggs has also admitted to finding extremely tough to leave out players. Come next season, could he really be ruthless enough to leave out some of his good mates if they’re not performing? He may be able to, but it’s just another risk that the club will have to deal with.

Van Gaal offers the perfect alternative. The likelihood is that if he is appointed, Ryan Giggs will still play an important role in the coaching set-up – whether that’s being his assistant or just a coach, it will enable him to get the grips with the magnitude of the job so when he eventually does take control, and it is a formality that he will at some point, he is fully confident in his ability to handle all the rigours of Manchester United management.

Manchester United can’t afford to have another manager ‘feel’ his way into the job. Van Gaal is one of the most experienced managers in the business, and his arrogance will serve him well in the job. He has managed some of Europe’s largest clubs in Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Ajax and has been successful at all three so he won’t require a bedding-in period. He will walk into Carrington and immediately stamp his authority on the side without a moment’s hesitation – and right now, that’s exactly what this United side need.

By David Lewis

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