Updated: Thursday, 21st February 2019 @ 6:15am

Debate: Keeping Manchester United’s playing icons behind the scenes is integral to club’s success

Debate: Keeping Manchester United’s playing icons behind the scenes is integral to club’s success

By Andrew Locke

Earlier in the week, it was revealed that former United full back Phil Neville would be returning to the club where he was part of a famous treble winning squad of 1999, not as a player, but as a coach in the new look of Moyes' backroom.

Joining Neville on the coaching team will be Ryan Giggs, who is set to take on the role of player-coach for the new season.

The pair join an increasing line of former players who have found roles in the non-playing staff at Manchester United including the likes of Sir Bobby Charlton who now works as a club ambassador, and former United striker and reserve manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The list goes on, and the latest additions will probably not be the last.

With many popular United players nearing stages in their career where they must consider their future, we may be seeing more familiar faces showing up at the Carrington training grounds with a different purpose in mind.

This tactic is significant for the success of Manchester United.

Firstly, they are respected individuals in the sport, who have shown great skill in their positions for both club and country with 123 senior appearances internationally between them for England and Wales.

They have the background and the years of playing the sport to engage with the players and leave an impression on them when on the training ground.

Both Giggs and Neville have trained for coaching badges during their career, and Phil has also coached the England Under-21’s this year in the ill-fated Under 21’s European Championships.

While they are not completely experienced in coaching, Neville does have some experience on the international coaching front, and Giggs is one of the most experienced players still playing.

It’s safe to say he’s one man who can teach anyone how to play football.

Additional benefits of these individuals is that United, and Moyes, have a philosophy of bringing through promising young players, such as Giggs and Neville themselves, through the academy up to the senior squad.

Last season, United won the Premier league using a selection largely made up of young players.

This represents the long-term results of a strong youth system that has proven itself many times in the past.

Keeping icons back to teach the players of tomorrow will ensure that the future squads of Manchester United share the same talents that make them champions today.

Another benefit of the former player is that it brings along the personality of a club – one defining characteristic of Manchester United is that they want to win, and they will fight for it.

Keeping players who played with that mentality around and those who can pass it on to the next generation of players will be crucial in keeping the gritty determination of the Ferguson era for seasons to come.

However, hiring former players in coaching positions comes with risks as turning from player to staff has not always ended well.

One example is the man who holds the record for most goals scored in the Premier League: Alan Shearer.

In 2009 he accepted the position of manager at his old club Newcastle United amid a heated fight for survival in the Premier League, but the legend was still unable to save the club from relegation and was replaced by Chris Hughton.

Moyes will need to make sure that his backroom team will be ready for the challenge of being a Premier league team that is expected to win, regardless of what they did in their playing careers.

However, it seems United are preserving their legacy which has made them one of the most recognisable brands across the globe.

Names like Giggs and Neville have been an integral part to the many years of success enjoyed at Old Trafford.

These are the names which people all around the world can think of when they look towards the success of the club.

Keeping them around off the pitch for the next portion of their careers may be a sign that success will certainly be staying at United, as well as its identity even after the departure of one of professional football’s most iconic names, Sir Alex Ferguson.

David Moyes has got a difficult task, replacing a manager who brought so much silverware back to Manchester, however he now has the support of some of the players who were on the pitch when the trophies were won.

Manchester United is a club associated with some of football’s legends, both on and off the pitch, and keeping them around should ensure the beautiful game remains beautiful at Old Trafford.

Picture courtesy of WikiCommons, with thanks.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.