The former Arsenal boss thinks the Dutchman is a good appointment and is pleased Ryan Giggs will be his assistant, but has warned fans not to expect trophies in his first season
By Russell Stoddart
Former Arsenal manager George Graham does not expect Louis van Gaal to deliver instant success to Manchester United, but believes he is the right man for the job.
The Scot, who played for United in the early 1970s, believes the club have taken too many blows in the past 12 months to immediately return to the top of English football.
And although he backs Van Gaal to nurture a new generation at Old Trafford, he says he will need time to get things right.
“He is a good appointment with his experience and strength of character, but he is not a quick fix,” Graham told Goal. “So much has gone wrong at United in the past year or so that he will need time to turn things around.
“Those people expecting him to win lots of trophies in his first season there will be disappointed. He will need time to get his signings in and bedded down.
“His real legacy will be in producing a new generation of young players similar to those who were the backbone of United’s success for much of the past 20 years, such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville and Nicky Butt.
“His ability to nurture talent is what he is renowned for and the facilities at United will give him the best chance of achieving that.
“Sir Alex Ferguson took four or five years to turn things around at United and it was having the courage to go with youth that ultimately did the trick. Everybody in football knew that if he was given time he would get it right, and I hope that is what they will do with Louis van Gaal.
“United have to return to that philosophy and be patient. Just because they are a big club, they cannot expect success right away.”
Ryan Giggs will join Van Gaal as his assistant after bringing his playing career to an end, and Graham believes that is a smart move.
“I am pleased they’ve appointed Ryan Giggs as Van Gaal’s assistant and it looks like they are grooming him to be a successor,” he added.
“He’s been there since he was a schoolboy and knows what makes United tick. He will learn a lot from Van Gaal, but Van Gaal will learn a lot about the club from him, too.
“But there is also a place at United for other members of the backroom staff, particularly those, like Giggs, who came through the ranks, such as Paul Scholes and Phil Neville. The youth set-up will need a lot of hard work and it is a great learning curve for those who have ambitions in management.
“I spent six years involved in youth football at Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers under Terry Venables and that allowed me to have the success I had with Millwall and then Arsenal.
“I have noticed that in the last couple of decades that foreign players are more inclined to go into youth coaching than their counterparts in England, and that is a worry for our game. If I was starting out in coaching, I would be really excited about being a part of the Louis van Gaal’s youth set up at United.”