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Why Are We Automatically Convinced That Ryan Giggs Will Be a Good Manager?

28/01/2016 17:34 | Updated 28 January 2017

As Manchester United's chief decision maker, Ed Woodward has three envelopes on his desk right now with his only managerial options for the rest of the season. The first says 'Keep Louis van Gaal', the second says 'Hire Jose Mourinho', and the third says 'Give it Giggsy'.

Should van Gaal leave his post at any point over the remaining four months of 2015/16, one would imagine that Ryan Giggs would be overwhelming favourite to take over as care-taker until a more permanent solution is found.

But regardless of the short-term situation, the Old Trafford legend is also the man being groomed to take over and be the long-term successor to Sir Alex Ferguson.

Most United supporters and a lot of people in the game in general, are well behind this idea and already anticipate the return of the glory days as soon as the Welshman is handed the reins. The 'just give it Giggsy now' sentiment also carries a similar assumption that United will suddenly shoot up the table and the problems of the last two and a half years will immediately be forgotten with him in charge.

But it begs the question - why are we automatically convinced that Giggs will actually be a good manager?

To be clear, this is not simply an anti-Giggs argument and there's absolutely no reason why he can't make a very successful transition into management. But at the moment the evidence for him being a managerial smash-hit, as people are widely expecting, is virtually non-existent.

Fans were jumping for joy when Giggs took the United job on a short-term basis following David Moyes' dismissal in April 2014. He had four games - Norwich (H), Sunderland (H), Hull (H) and Southampton (A) - in which to lay down a marker. None were exactly what would be described as challenging, but Giggs' United were a touch underwhelming and won just two of them.

It's perhaps possible to give him the benefit of the doubt for those games. After all, he took over when a top four finish was out of reach and confidence was low after heavy defeats against Liverpool, Manchester City and Everton in the preceding few weeks.

But what people often now forget is that in between the humbling losses, Moyes' United had also enjoyed big wins, comfortably beating West Ham, Aston Villa and Newcastle by a combined score of 10-1. So Giggs' 4-0 win against Norwich and 3-1 win against Hull weren't really any different to the results that particular team was already getting - in other words there weren't earth-shattering.

More important than the wins, the home loss against Sunderland and the lacklustre display at Southampton on the final day of the season proved he was far from ready to inspire a team in a difficult situation to victory. Should he be given the job in the immediate future, the circumstances will be similar to how they were in 2014.

Granted that was nearly three years ago, but from the outside looking in it doesn't appear as though a lot has changed. His influence at United as an assistant to Van Gaal seems to have been minimal at a time when the situation has been crying out for someone of his standing to make his mark. The point of Giggs staying on was to keep some of the United spirit among the staff, but he seems to have been unable to convey that to the manager.

Perhaps he's been consciously trying to avoid anything that could undermine his boss, but all the great managers have that ballsy and/or confrontational spark to go with their obvious footballing intelligence. Take Alex Ferguson as a prime example, but also the likes of Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Diego Simeone in current world football.

People often talk about all of the top managers to have come from Ferguson's United dressing room. But how many of them have actually achieved that much? Paul Ince lasted just a few months at Blackburn Rovers in his only Premier League appointment to date. Roy Keane initially found success at Sunderland, but later struggled. Bryan Robson suffered relegation with an expensively assembled Middlesbrough team and then only a miracle kept his West Brom side in the Premier League. Even Steve Bruce, one might argue, hasn't had a great deal of what could be described as 'top flight success'.

Mark Hughes, who has enjoyed good spells in charge of several clubs as well the Welsh national team, is the one that stands out above the others. But even he hasn't been winning trophies or had a high end job, 18 months at Manchester City aside.

Sometimes players who spent their careers at the top aren't necessarily cut out for a life at the top in management. At present Giggs' future foray into management could easily go either way - we just don't know. But what is certain is that it's a mistake to automatically assume that he'll be a success.

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