Giggs can do my job - Ferguson
ALEX FERGUSON has tipped Ryan Giggs to succeed him as manager of Manchester United when he finally decides to step down from a post he has occupied for more than 20 years.
Ferguson is understood to believe that despite his lack of experience Giggs has many of the qualities required to take on the most demanding club job in English football.
He praised the former Welsh international’s attributes among fellow managers at a recent private function attended by leading business figures.
Ferguson’s advocacy of his most loyal and long-standing player as his successor may come as a surprise given Giggs’s lack of experience and apparent commitment to continue playing.
Last week, Giggs signed a one-year extension to his contract at Manchester United, which will see him playing until he is at least 39.
There is also a huge field of experienced managers who would leap at the chance to succeed Ferguson when his reign finally comes to an end, with Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, David Moyes and Martin O’Neill among those who would love to be considered for the post.
Other former players, including Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who won the Norwegian league last October, in his first year in charge of Molde, would also appear to be ahead of Giggs in most lists for the job.
With the Glazer family likely to have their pick of the leading coaches in the world to take on the daunting job of succeeding Ferguson, Giggs remains an outside candidate – the Betfair betting exchange makes him 80-1 for the job with 15 more experienced candidates ahead of him in the betting – but Ferguson’s support would weigh heavily in his favour.
Team-mate Paul Scholes also believes Giggs could take over from Ferguson.
The midfielder said: “People have talked about Mourinho. It can change quickly ... it’s about who is successful at the time.
“Whether they are British or foreign, you just want the best man for the job. I could see Ryan Giggs becoming manager.”
Giggs is understood to be pursuing his coaching badges, and is said by Ferguson to have the temperament and personality to cope with management, despite his diffident public persona.
He also has as keen an appreciation as any current or former player of the legacy the next manager will inherit at Old Trafford, as well as the methods that have made Ferguson so successful.
Ferguson’s support may give an indication of his thoughts on his retirement date. With Giggs committed to playing on for at least one more season, it indicates that Ferguson will continue for at least one more year. Earlier this season he indicated he would do three more seasons, health allowing.
This week Giggs said he remained committed to playing for United, and will notch up his 900th senior appearance for the club, most likely in the return leg against Ajax next Thursday, or on the following Sunday in the Premier League clash with Norwich.
He is open to the possibility of management, however, and was tipped to replace Gary Speed as manager of Wales.
He said this week that while the Wales job had come too soon, he has considered management, which he believes is far harder than playing.
“Players come in to train at nine o’clock and they are at home by half-twelve. Managers spend their time worrying about the team, so it is a completely different job and situation,” he said.
“Succeeding Gary (Speed) was never really an option for me, though. I spoke to the gaffer and United were ready to offer me a new deal. I wanted to play on.”