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Friday 20 October 2017

No management material visible in Old Trafford Class of '92

Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson with Gary Neville
Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson with Gary Neville

Where did the idea that Ryan Giggs would become a top manager come from? He rarely looks less than a sheep caught in the headlights.

Trevor Francis blithely suggested that Giggs would "someday be a top manager" when he was discussing the running order to fill the Swansea position, as if it is written in stone somewhere.

But really, Giggs? Maybe it's just his eyes but they seem to suggest he's always slightly puzzled, always a heartbeat behind the conversation.

His mild nature doesn't really convert to hardass pundit and it is even harder to see him winning the Premier League as a manager - not in a thousand seasons.

Most of the time, you look into his faraway eyes and wonder.

Giggs' abilities as a manager are untested, unproven and very unlikely.

He was never a leader on the pitch and his uncertain delivery on live television makes you wonder how he would fare with 20 pairs of cosseted, Premier League eyes boring into him in a dressing room.

Legend counts for nothing in management, as Neville found out, and yet he, Giggs and a whole posse of Alex Ferguson's players seem to feel that accumulating a room full of medals working for the best manager of all time gives them a pass.

Giggs believed he was ready to step straight into the Manchester United job when David Moyes' brief time ended badly and there was much huff and puff about whether he would be prepared to work for Louis van Gaal.

He stayed all right and sat like a bold child beside the Dutchman. Hard to tell if he learned anything useful.

While he was doing that, Gary Neville was building up his profile as a formidable pundit, fearlessly ripping into van Gaal while his pal Giggs sat stony-faced.

Of course we know from Neville's hurt at his treatment by the English FA after Roy Hodgson got the bullet that No 2s don't have to take any responsibility for their work.

Rio Ferdinand is another who doesn't immediately spring to mind as management material but he was miffed when he didn't get a call from England.

Phil Neville bobs around from studio to training pitch but is at least putting in the miles learning his trade. He might even make a decent stab at managing in the lower divisions in a few years.

Paul Scholes snipes from the sidelines, too shrewd to dip his toes.

It would be interesting to see what kind of video Roy Keane would make now if he recreated that infamous Carrington video, stuck all Fergie's Old Boys in a room and gave an honest assessment of their potential as managers

But of course Keano took the gilded route too so he might not feel he is the right man to make the judgement.

In his favour is the fact that he has management miles under his tank and his current project is turning out to be a big success.

Right now, Steve Bruce and Mark Hughes are the only pupils of Ferguson making a fist of club management.

There is nothing to suggest that even one of the Class of 92 is ready to graduate and do the same.

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