Van Gaal: Giggs can emulate Mourinho
Ryan Giggs has the capacity to become the next Jose Mourinho.
United boss Louis van Gaal has mentored both the Reds legend and Chelsea’s hugely successful manager and believes the Old Trafford legend’s education as a number two could mark him out as a top manager of the future in his own right.
Mourinho failed to make it big time as a player but broke into management via his time as Bobby Robson’s translator.
When the former England boss moved to Sporting Lisbon in the early 90s he employed the former Portuguese Second Division player to translate for him. Robson took Mourinho with him to Porto and then onto Barcelona.
But it was when Van Gaal became the Barca coach in 1997 he picked up on Mourinho’s thirst for football knowledge.
“I sometimes think I was the only guy who believed in Jose Mourinho. I took him more seriously that most people in the club,” Van Gaal once said.
The Dutchman was so impressed he even allowed him to coach reserve matches and did the homework on future Barca opponents.
“He carried out all the analysis and studied all the opponents,” he said.
Mourinho finally went his own way at Porto and won the Champions League for the Portuguese club in 2004 before moving onto Chelsea for the first time at the age of 41.
Giggs is now 41 and was installed last summer as Van Gaal’s assistant at United.
Like Mourinho at the Nou Camp Giggs has done much of the analysis for the Van Gaal regime and has filled him in on English opposition and has also delivered some inspirational pre-match speeches.
But in contrast to Mourinho’s unsuccessful, humble professional career Giggs is United’s most successful ever player and all-time number one appearance maker.
But Van Gaal still believes Giggs has the hunger to win as a coach.
“It is always difficult to compare people with each other. Jose Mourinho was not a world class player like Ryan Giggs,” says the Reds boss.
“That is the same thing with me. I was not a world class player like Johan Cruyff. But our ambition is then maybe higher.
“But I have to admit, I could not imagine when I spoke with Ryan in May to ask him that he could be my assistant manager and we spoke about how we see it, that he would work so very hard.
“As an ex player, you are not used to working hard but he is a very hard worker. He reads the game very good, like Jose. But to manage a group you have to learn. What I can see is that he is also learning quickly.”
So is he successful management material?
“Maybe, yes, you never know.”
Van Gaal, has a three-year contract as United manager and, though he has recently, hinted he could continue beyond that, he would be 65 when the Reds deal he signed last summer expires.
Giggs would then be 44, the age Sir Alex Ferguson was in 1986 when he took over at United, and with the experiences of working under Fergie as a player, Van Gaal as his number two and even as a player coach for David Moyes, he is building up a CV that could well see him become the Dutchman’s United successor.
Giggs was named interim boss last April when the club sacked Moyes and although he admitted the job took him by surprise he is now adding to his education in the background on LVG’s team and could be the next Mourinho.