Ryan Giggs’ task? To restore sanity at Manchester United.
What has happened at United the past week, indeed throughout this season, has come as a shock to fans not only of the Old Trafford giants but also observers outside it.
‘A club in crisis’ was how former England forward Gary Lineker referred to the turmoil at United after David Moyes was sacked on Tuesday, with only four games remaining in the season including Saturday’s home match against Norwich.
United’s saviour in the caretaker form of Giggs represents not only a fresh face, but a winner who has served his time at a club during their greatest era.
As a player, Giggs continued to evolve throughout his career and thus remains one of the most flexible athletes in British football, a rare commodity.
While a managerial position is a fundamentally more strained position in a hierarchy, could past success help a prosperous switch?
In his early 20s, Giggs regularly sprinted at full length on his trademark runs on the wing but as a result picked up injuries which led to a change of mind-set, altering the way he plays today.
There were other examples too. He turned his back on international friendlies for Wales for almost a decade, once again to balance his club career commitments as United were embarking on a glorious march on all fronts.
Welsh supporters would find it hard to argue that through this he still didn’t do a good job for his national team competitively – he was part of two moderately successful international teams in 1993 and 2003, on the cusp of tournament qualification.
He has performed yoga and has his own DVD ‘Giggs Fitness’, quite a different approach to the usually macho environment of British football.
The return of the Class of ’92 in the shape of Giggs, alongside Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville has all the hallmarks of old players coming back to help the current set-up.
Make of it what you will, the opportunity of helping each other with new coaches still fit enough to be professional footballers could lead to a greater well-being on the training ground.
In Manchester, these players are seen as another group of local, hard-working heroes.
In the world, they are seen as a group of technically excellent footballers that helped deliver success after success: Scholes and Giggs in particular would grace the chapter of a football playing bible, though whenever this leads to success in the coaching arena is another question.
The other option is a possible switch of United’s values by appointing a Louis Van Gaal or Juergen Klopp figure as speculated in the press, but then rising again is an equal part of United’s regeneration.
‘Enjoy yourself, express yourself’ was the positive mantra expressed by Giggs in his first press conference this morning and, in a nutshell, United must play with an upbeat freedom again.
Main image courtesy of Sky Sports via YouTube, with thanks.