Ryan Giggs is being continuously linked with the Manchester United manager’s job and touted as the one to take over from Sir Alex Ferguson.
Despite recently signing a new deal at Old Trafford, keeping him at the club until he is at least 40, the twilight of the Welshman’s playing career seems to be running parallel to Ferguson’s impending retirement.
But surely jumping straight into a huge managerial role at Old Trafford would be too much, too young for the Red Devils legend?
Former teammate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently tipped Giggs to succeed Ferguson, who himself – the most decorated boss in United’s illustrious history – has backed Giggs to follow him into the Old Trafford hot-seat.
One of Fergie’s Fledglings, Giggs was bred into the United first team and the Scot has watched him out-live the likes of Gary Neville and Nicky Butt – all of who he started before.
If anyone is in a position to judge the potential success Giggs could have as a future manager then it is his long-term boss, and the Welshman couldn’t have wished for a more perfect mentor – someone who has developed multiple generations of winning teams, an expert in man-management and player development.
Many who have donned the red and white of United and stepped out on to the Old Trafford pitch during the Sir Alex era have gone on to become Premier League bosses – surely a reflection on the influence of the stubborn Scotsman and his ability to instil teamwork and leadership skills in players lucky enough to spend time under his guidance.
But have any of these been successful?
There are, on the list, many who were undoubtedly top professionals, some of the biggest names in British football during their playing career, but none have gone on to emulate their teacher.
Bryan Robson, Captain Marvel, lifted two Premier League titles playing under Ferguson and despite a bright start to what seemed like the beginnings a fruitful career as a boss, leading Middlesbrough to two promotions, has dropped off the face of the managerial earth.
Steve Bruce, Paul Ince and Mark Hughes also enjoyed glittering careers with Ferguson in charge, but have so far failed to make an impact on the Premier League themselves and, especially in Hughes’ case during his stint in charge of rivals Manchester City, build a team to realistically challenge United’s supremacy.
As for Keane, the hard-tackling midfielder who many believed was readymade for management has proved his unpredictable temperament is apparently more suited to sharing a studio with Adrian Chiles on ITV than it is a dugout at Ipswich or Sunderland.
So is being a Fergie Fledgling really enough to guarantee Giggs success in the Old Trafford hot seat?
No doubt Giggs has proved, in the almost quarter of a century he has spent playing top flight football, he has all the attributes to become a leading boss at some stage. A model professional who is rarely in the spotlight for the wrong reasons, a passionate leader in his own way and a well-respected name who would attract the greatest players in Europe.
Someone who understands completely the legacy and principles at the club put in place by the likes of Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton.
He is also set to become the first player to complete his UEFA Pro Licence, a necessity for Premier League managers, while continuing his playing days, fuelling speculation he will take over at once Ferguson steps down.
This is a player who has accumulated 12 Premier League titles, scoring in every season since its introduction in 1992, four FA Cups, two Champions Leagues and is uttered in same breath a George Best and Charlton by the Theatre of Dreams faithful.
But Alan Shearer proved at Newcastle that club legends do not necessarily make successful managers, given eight games to save the club from relegation, but leading them into the Championship.
So would Giggs be willing to place his faultless reputation amongst United fans on the line?
Taking over from Ferguson is an almighty challenge for whoever the task falls too, from the Special One, Jose Mourinho, to club legend Ryan Giggs.
But Giggs faces undoing all the glory he enjoyed and reputation he earned as a player, writing his name into the Old Trafford history books for all the right reasons.
There is nothing stopping him following in Ferguson’s footsteps and guiding United to success in the future, but he needs to go away and learn his trade in the lower leagues first. Ferguson did not step straight into the Old Trafford job.
Giggs may have been thrust into the limelight at a very early age as a player, but he had room for error and inconsistency with a wonderful team around him as a teenager. Stepping straight into the United hot seat, one of the most sought after jobs in world football, with no prior management experience I fear is too much, too young for the Welshman.
Image courtesy of Sky Sports, via YouTube, with thanks