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Between the Lines: Ryan Giggs holding out only for a top club reeks of entitlement

Rohith Nair
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Feature
875   //    23 Dec 2017, 15:20 IST

Southampton v Manchester United - Premier League
Ryan Giggs has not had a coaching job since July 2016

Ryan Giggs is a lot of things. A Manchester United legend, a holder of plenty of records, a winner of a number of trophies, and one of the most gifted players to grace England's grounds in the Premier League era.

However, ever since he has hung up his boots, he has polarised opinions as a pundit and a managerial prospect. Even Red Devils fans have questioned his constant need to stay relevant with opinions that do border on the ridiculous at times.

Take for example his last interview with The Times. Giggs has spoken a lot and did make some good points. For example, he spoke about how the stalemate with Liverpool killed United's chances. On the other hand, he also attacked United for not signing Kylian Mbappe and Gabriel Jesus, claiming he himself had identified them as special talents before the rest of the world took note.

Also read: Ryan Giggs urged Manchester United to sign Kylian Mbappe and Gabriel Jesus

But there was one section that really stood out - Giggs' outright rejection of building his non-existent managerial career at a smaller club before taking over the reins at a big club.

'More suited to coaching at the top'

Here's what Giggs had to say when he was asked whether he would get his feet wet at a smaller club before taking over at a top club.

"I don’t have experience in the lower divisions. It’s not where I’ve worked in my career. I’ve spent my whole life in the Premier League - not just as a player but as a player-coach and assistant manager.
"I know now I wasn’t ready when I had those four games in charge at United [as caretaker manager when David Moyes was sacked in 2014], but I’m a lot better qualified to manage now after those two years with Louis [van Gaal]. That was a fantastic experience.” - Giggs

The first half of his statement rings true, of course. Giggs has only ever played in the Premier League for the entire duration of his career. But he was only a player-coach for four games - not his 'whole life'. But it's the second half of the statement that has people raising their eyebrows.

"I'm a lot better qualified to manage now," he says after learning under Louis van Gaal when the Dutchman was in charge. But does that give him experience to take the hot seat at a top club for good? Of course not.

Why not take charge at a smaller Premier League club then, you ask? Well, Giggs just isn't interested - a point he reiterates every time he is asked.

For example, he has aboslutely no interest in taking over at Welsh Premier League club Swansea just because they appointed an experienced manager the last time the job was available (midway through the 2016/17 season).

Giggs must prove himself like Guardiola and Zidane did

Pep Guardiola and Zinedine Ziadne are perfect examples of players-turned-managers who found success at the very highest level. However, they did not get the job just because they were great players who simply earned their coaching badges and pro licenses.

Zidane Guardiola
Both Zidane and Guardiola managed youth teams before they were handed the senior team

No, Pep Guardiola had to first prove himself with the Barcelona B side before he was handed the reins of the senior team. And he wasn't the first choice either - he was one among many candidates that even included Jose Mourinho and Michael Laudrup.

Guardiola did not get the job mainly because the Barcelona philosophy was ingrained in him. He wasn't handed the role because he ticked the right boxes. He had gained experience and proven himself with the B team by winning promotion to the Segunda Division.

Similarly, Zidane also worked with the B team at Real Madrid - the Castilla. The French manager was involved with the youngsters for two years before Real Madrid decided he was the ideal man to take over from Rafael Benitez - who was doomed to fail as soon as he took the job.

The rest is history. Both managers won the respect of the players and they both eventually won the Champions League in their debut season.

Giggs, on the other hand, has been out of work since Mourinho took over at Old Trafford - occasionally appearing as a pundit or playing Futsal torunaments in India.

He may have the club's philosophy of attacking football entrenched in his psyche but the fact of the matter is that United never played the 'Sir Alex Ferguson way' when Van Gaal was in charge and Giggs was his assistant.

It is the same with Mourinho who has now changed the dynamics of the team to suit the fixture rather than embrace the club's historic style of attacking football.

Giggs needs serious experience for a top job

This is not to say that Giggs is ill-suited for the United job. But the club will not risk taking a punt at him and give him a long-term contract without knowing whether he can deliver. Managing for four games at the end of a season with nothing else to play for is nothing compared to a four-year contract when there is so much at stake in a league that is becoming increasingly competitive.

One look at all the top clubs in England is all you need to know about how much experience each manager has. In fact, among the big six, the least experienced manager is Tottenham Hotspur's Mauricio Pochettino. And he has been managing clubs since 2009, making a name for himself at lowly Espanyol before moving to England.

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Pochettino is the least experienced among the top PL clubs' managers and even he has 8 years of experience

So for Giggs to come out and say that he deserves a job at a top club just because he "spent his entire life in the Premier League" makes him come across as someone who is entitled whose arrogance has already rubbed many people the wrong way.

He need only look at fellow teammate Roy Keane (and Gary Neville to a certain extent) to understand that rich experience as a player that has won countless medals does not guarantee success as a manager in the top flight.

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Rohith Nair
FEATURED COLUMNIST
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