The former Red Devils winger believes his brief spell as interim player-manager at Old Trafford last season has prepared him for life as the Dutchman’s assistant
Ryan Giggs has admitted he found his brief spell managing Manchester United “tough” last season, but is ready to give “everything” to learn alongside Louis van Gaal and help restore the club to its former glories.
The former Red Devils winger took over as interim player-manager at Old Trafford following the sacking of David Moyes in April, and has since been appointed as assistant to incoming coach Van Gaal.
Despite being initially overawed by the level of work required to lead a club the size of United, the Welshman believes his experience under Sir Alex Ferguson will stand him in good stead alongside the current Netherlands boss next season.
“When I took the [interim] job there were a lot of things that I was quite happy with, but there was the odd thing where I thought ‘I’m not quite ready for this’, Giggs told thefa.com. “Well it wasn’t that I wasn’t ready for it, but I could do with a little bit more experience.
“I have gained that experience from Sir Alex [Ferguson] but last year I was still playing so I wasn’t really focused on the coaching and the other side of things.
“This year I can put everything into it and learn from someone who has managed at the top in so many other countries.
“It has been a good thing that I have been with Sir Alex for so long but also I am now getting to see how other people work as well. I got a taste of David Moyes and now Louis Van Gaal this year.”
Giggs was in charge of United for the last four games of a disappointing campaign in which the club surrendered their Premier League title and finished seventh, and thinks distancing himself from the playing squad will be a benefit next term.
“There was just so much to do [as manager],” he continued. “Before training you are in at half seven and by the time half ten had come you were knackered.
“Because I was still a player I just wanted to make the players aware that I was the club manager and get that distance away from them initially to say ‘I am not joining in training, I am looking to see what you are doing’. You can’t really do that if you are getting involved.
“Initially that was my feeling – not get involved with training and see how they were all performing. The majority of the lads were all fit so I had plenty to choose from so I wanted to get a good look. If you are involved and in the middle of it you don’t quite get the same look.”
Giggs followed in the United tradition of trusting youth players by giving debuts to Tom Lawrence and James Wilson during his short spell in charge, and was vindicated as Wilson netted twice in a 3-1 win over Hull.
“I was lucky in the respect that I could get that balance right with really top, top players and throw a young player in at United,” he said. “I had that cushion, that luxury of doing that but I have grown up with that philosophy so I am not going to just throw it away.”
“I was a youngster once and I got given a chance and that is what it is all about as a young lad – if you get given a chance then you have got to take it. James [Wilson] certainly did and Tom [Lawrence] did brilliantly as well.
“I was really pleased for them but I didn’t just throw them in – I actually watched them play and train the week building up to that and they didn’t look out of place – so if you are good enough then you are old enough.”