Ryan Giggs' commitment and love for the Red Devils came into the limelight once again as he recently extended his contract with the club for another year. This means there is no stopping the United star even with him approaching 39. And those who are raising eyebrows and questioning his ability to play at this age, need only to go back to his performance in the match against Chelsea in February this year. Many would credit Javier Hernandez for that equaliser, but one cannot rule out the wonderful pass by Giggs which assisted Chicharito's beautiful header.
Not long ago, the midfielder had assured that he was in no hurry to take a call on retirement. Giggs took his United teammate Paul Scholes' example, who retired after the club's victory last-season and started to coach the reserve team, before he was called back again. Giggs said that he won't repeat the same and would love to continue playing for the team.
As the midfielder became the first player to make his 900th appearance for United in quite an emphatic fashion in the match against Norwich, one could see his amazing journey since the nineties flash before the eyes. Since making his debut in the 1991 season, Giggs has come a long way in scoring 162 goals and winning 12 Premier League titles - all for one club - Manchester United.
One can keep turning the pages while talking about this former Wales international's glorious career. And even now Giggs seems to be in no mood of slowing down as he could feature as an over-age player in the Great Britain side at the 2012 London Olympics.
And while his retirement at some point of time is inevitable, his association with the Red Devils seems set to continue even post his goodbye as a player. According to recent reports in some well-known news portals, Sir Alex Fergsuon himself has tipped Giggs to be his successor at Old Trafford.
Even though this is not the first time Giggs has been spoken as the manager in waiting for United, this time the Scot himself gave his green signal to the United star. This in spite of experienced and successful coaches like Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola also being in contention for the most sought-after job in English football. Ferguson said that even though Giggs doesn't have the experience of being a coach, he has the right temperament for the job.
Giggs' United teammate Scholes has also shown his full support. The midfielder told FourFourTwo magazine: "People have talked about Mourinho. It can change quickly ... it's about who is successful at the time. Whether they are British or foreign, you just want the best man for the job. I could see Ryan Giggs becoming manager."
Other than his club, Giggs was also tipped to replace Gary Speed as the manager of Wales before Chris Coleman took over in January. Reflecting on him being a potential candidate for the Welsh job, before Coleman's appointment, Giggs was quoted by The Daily Telegraph as saying, "Everyone who has played and managed would say that playing is much, much easier. Players come in to train at nine o'clock and they are at home by at half twelve. Managers spend their time worrying about the team, so it is a completely different job and situation."
Now even though Giggs feels that managing a team is way tougher than playing, the likeliness of him being the next manager of Manchester United cannot be ruled out. He already has the support from men who matter quite a bit - Ferguson and many of his teammates. And going by his recent interview to Inside United magazine, Giggs already seems to be learning the art of managing and seems to be a part of Ferguson's management team.
He was quoted by the magazine as saying: "It's that tier from the coaching staff to the dressing room - these are the things you see first-hand. It's especially so for me because I don't play every game so sometimes you're watching games and you see things that can help young players. It might be the littlest pointer that can help them, but ultimately it's just reminding them what they're good at, about the importance of training hard, and to put quality into their training. And sooner or later, when they have a little bit of bad form, it will all come back to them."
All in all, Ferguson's backing, his teammates' support and his long association with the club coupled with him picking up the art of management suggests that he may just be the man to lead United into the new era. Only this time as a manager.
Story first published on: Sunday, 19 February 2012 10:26 IST