Ryan Giggs has hunger for management after brief taste before Louis van Gaal
Ryan Giggs' short spell in charge of Manchester United has given him the appetite for management, reports Sky Sports News HQ's James Cooper.
This time last year the biggest challenge facing Ryan Giggs was his 40th birthday, 12 months on the most decorated British footballer has retired as a player, begun his coaching career, managed Manchester United and is now assisting Louis van Gaal.
The ups and down are captured in a new DVD, “The Life of Ryan”, which was initially conceived to chart the end of the playing career of a winger, who joined United as a 13 year old, but became a fly-on-the-wall examination of his 4 game stint as manager at Old Trafford.
That brief taste of management, two wins, a draw and a defeat, has given Giggs the hunger for more.
“I enjoyed it and I can see why so many people go back for more because no matter what’s happened, if they’ve ended in disappointment in a job, the buzz that you get when you win and preparing the team through the week and then seeing it materialise at the weekend it’s a great feeling and a great satisfaction," he said ."Of course there’s highs and lows throughout the week and things that you don’t expect but that’s all the excitement, you never know what’s going to come next.”
And for Giggs the contrasting emotions stemming from victory or defeat were something he felt far more keenly as a manager than he ever had as a player.
“As a manager the feeling of winning is much greater than the feeling of losing is. As a player, the feeling of losing is bad but as a manager you feel it even more so.”
Giggs got his chance in the Old Trafford hot-seat following the departure of David Moyes. In his short time as manager of Manchester United, Moyes was the one who gave Giggs his first coaching position and while the Welshman is now part of Louis Van Gaal’s new era, Moyes has recently returned to management in charge of Real Sociedad.
"Of course it was a disappointing season overall, but you have to look forward and learn from your mistakes, look to improve all the time." - Ryan Giggs
“You always look at what you could have done better and what you did well. Of course it was a disappointing season overall, but you have to look forward and learn from your mistakes, look to improve all the time. It was a tough year for everyone, but obviously I hope that David does well. It’s a great chance for him and a great challenge for him to be actually coaching in a different country, which probably not enough British managers do. So it’s brave and I’m sure he’s excited and I hope he does well.”
So what of Van Gaal, the man who led Holland to the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup and has managed the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich? On arriving at Manchester United one of his first decisions was to appoint Giggs as his assistant.
“He obviously demands a lot, he’s somebody who’s got plenty of experience, likes to play attacking football, likes to give youth a chance so there’s plenty of synergy there with the history of Manchester United and the traditions. So it’s great to learn from somebody who’s managed at the top for so long and just try to learn as I go and try to prove myself as a coach. It’s an apprenticeship, it’s starting all over again. It’s a totally different mindset from being the one being spoken to, to actually giving out the instructions, delivering training sessions and doing things throughout the week to prepare for the game.”
Giggs’ use of the word “apprenticeship” to describe his latest role hints at his ambitions to take what he learns alongside Van Gaal into an eventual career as a Number One but he’s experienced enough to appreciate that although he’s been at the club for more than 27 years his future doesn’t have to include Manchester United.
“No it doesn’t but I take your point. I’ve been at the club for so long that I’m familiar with the club, but if I want to further my coaching career or managing career and if it’s not at Manchester United then so be it. I’ll just have to wait and see.”
For a man who has won 13 Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues, four FA Cups and three League Cups, Giggs isn’t someone who dwells on his achievements nor harbours many personal regrets from his playing career. The fact that he retired having scored in all but the last of his Premier League seasons as a Manchester United player is something that doesn’t seem to bother him, either.
“I have much bigger regrets than that, like playing better when we got beat by Barcelona in Rome and also at Wembley, again against Barcelona - more about things like that, the big games that you lost, but personal accolades, yeah they’re great but it never mattered to me much when I was playing and doesn’t now.”
In his new DVD Giggs reveals the question he’s been asked most frequently throughout his career is “When are Manchester United going to win the title?” and while Van Gaal harbours the dream of adding the Premier League to his Spanish, German and Dutch crowns, the issue now seems to be when will Manchester United be in title contention again?
“It is a process, I mean I think everyone will agree that Chelsea are head and shoulders above anyone else at the moment but it’s a process and you just have to try to keep improving and see where that takes you. It’s never easy winning the League or never easy beating teams in the Premier League, we’ve seen that this season it’s getting more like the Championship has been year after year. It’s a case where anyone can beat anyone so you have to be at your best every week and hopefully we will be, we’ll keep improving, get players back on the pitch and, like I say, there’s enough talent in that dressing room to take us up the League and try to finish as high as we can.”
As someone who came into that dressing room as a schoolboy and left it as a superstar Giggs knows just what Manchester United’s latest crop of youngsters are going through and what’s expected of them. More than that he gave some of them their first taste of first team action during those four games in charge at the end of last season. But it was his single loss, at home to Sunderland, that showed many of those players a different side to the man who is determined to manage and has the passion to go with that conviction.
“I did as a player, you lost your rag as an experienced player, you lose your rag if you see players not pulling their weight or if you’ve disappointed or something. As long as you lose your temper in the right way and it’s for the right reasons but yeah I wasn’t happy at half-time against Sunderland or at full-time but the other games were no problem."
His 40th birthday proved to be the start of what Giggs has termed a “rollercoaster” year and while his next birthday now beckons those 12 months have reminded everyone inside and outside of Manchester United that anything can happen in the days ahead.
'The Life of Ryan' is out now on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download.