At least 30 of Sir Alex Ferguson’s former players have gone on to attempt managerial careers of their own.
Their success has varied, ranging from Michael Appleton’s brief stints at Portsmouth, Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers to the likes of Steve Bruce and Mark Hughes, who will be in charge of Premier League sides Hull and Stoke, respectively, this coming season.
But perhaps the iconic Manchester United manager’s most promising prodigy is only now setting out on the coaching path.
Giggs, who will complete his UEFA coaching license next summer, has never hid his desire to one day follow in Ferguson’s footsteps and according to the betting site Oddschecker.com is now the odds-on favourite to one day succeed incoming United boss David Moyes at Old Trafford Daily Mail).
All signs point to the 39-year-old becoming an excellent manager, and his current role at United will serve as a constructive process both for him and the club he has represented for so long.
Following are five reasons why Giggs will both excel in his new coaching role and eventually flourish as a first-team manager in top-flight club football.
Giggs has been associated with Manchester United since 1987 and in the early 1990s was part of a young core of up-and-coming players that also included the likes of Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers—Gary and Phil.
He knows the club inside and out and, most importantly, understands the mentality required to contend for major prizes year after year.
Giggs has never appeared in fewer than 32 matches over the course of a season. And while he’ll turn 40 in November there’s no reason to expect the streak will be broken during the coming campaign.
As he has gotten older the Welshman has evolved from an out-and-out winger to a playmaking midfielder. In other words, while he once beat opponents with his speed he now beats them with his brain.
He adapted his game so as to keep playing—he knew how he had to play in order to get the best performances out of himself.
That sort of mindset will only help him as a coach, when one of his most important tasks will be getting the best out of a wide range of players from all over the age spectrum.
When a reporter has wanted a quote at Old Trafford he has typically gone to Ferguson, Roy Keane, Gary Neville or Rio Ferdinand. The soft-spoken Giggs has rarely provided a sound-byte.
Unlike his former teammate Keane, who let his temper get the better of him at both Sunderland and Ipswich, Giggs will take a more even keel in whatever future posts await him. His will be a quieter approach—which will make the odd outburst all the more intimidating.
When it comes to bringing young players along, his temperament will serve him well.
Giggs has been pursuing his coaching badges for awhile.
“It’s no secret that I have been taking my qualifications and I see this [new role] as the first step in my future career,” he told United’s official website on Thursday, adding, “I’m really looking forward to working alongside David [Moyes] and the team.”
This is not some stop-gap position Giggs will use to earn a bit of money after retiring from the playing side of the game.
Quite the contrary.
In hindsight, we may look back at Giggs’ managerial career as being comparable to his earlier exploits. At least, that’s what he’s hoping. He’s in this for the long haul.
Replacing Ferguson will not be easy.
Moyes—and the long-term contract presented to him—represents as good a replacement for the retiring legend as possible, but there will still be the odd bump during the transition.
Giggs will help smooth the process, acting as a link between the club’s illustrious recent past and a future with no shortage of question-marks.
“I hope I will be able to bring my experience to bear,” Giggs told the club’s official website, “having been both a player and part of the Manchester United family for so long.”