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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Ryan Giggs should have been managing Wales in the European Championships right now, but he’s stayed at home in Manchester where he keeps busy with his family and also cycles against Chris Froome virtually. In between all of this, he was also named as the recipient of Athletic Bilbao’s one club man award.
Giggs retired from playing six years ago after a record 963 Manchester United first team appearances. He misses training every day and the camaraderie in the dressing room.
“I loved it all throughout. It’s the thing I miss. I don’t miss the games, I miss training,” he tells in a new episode of the official United podcast.
“And even though I don’t get nervous, you put pressure on yourself. You enjoy winning the trophies and playing well and scoring goals, but actually, the games, you don’t enjoy everything that surrounds it. But training, I just loved it. I mean, playing football every day with your mates, it doesn’t get any better.
"Towards the end I probably enjoyed it more than ever because I was always thinking would it be my last year, or my last training session. So you enjoy it even more.”
Giggs briefly became caretaker United manager for four games in 2014 after David Moyes was dismissed. His team won two, drew one and lost one. He loved that as well.
“Amazing experience, amazing, and one, really, that made my mind up that I wanted to become a manager. I would say up until then that I was still unsure. I just felt comfortable. I felt comfortable in decision-making. I felt comfortable in that position. It was brilliant experience. I was still doing my pro licence, but actually being in the job, having to make the decisions, all the pressure that you put yourself under, you can't prepare yourself for that.”
I talk so fondly of Van Gaal because that was really my first coaching role
Talking of the benefits of having the experience of working with different managers after Sir Alex Ferguson, Giggs said: “[A] different approach, different people, different personalities. Obviously I had different international managers, but that's only a short space of time.
"That's why I talk about Louis (van Gaal), regarding my coaching, because I'm actually two years in the meetings, [taking] responsibility, and I talk so fondly of him because that was really my first coaching role. Whereas when you’re playing, you don't know the preparation. You don't know what the manager's seen on the videos. Players get seven or eight minutes of watching the opposition, but the coaching staff watch hours and hours. So that is completely different … even though you've worked under a manager for so long.
“It was more sort of the man-management and the different things that Sir Alex would do that I've picked up on, whereas with Louis obviously I've seen first-hand different systems, why you play the different systems, the reasons for this and the reasons for that...it was a really good experience.”
Giggs hoped to take over from Van Gaal as United boss and was prepared to do so in 2016, but despite the club originally intending that Giggs would become permanent boss, they went instead for what they considered the guarantee of success offered by Jose Mourinho. It was a moved supported by a majority of United fans who wanted the Portuguese over the Welshman.
Giggs continued living in Manchester, became Wales coach and led his country to the European Championships. He’s happy to reminisce and picks two moments as highlights from his club career: winning the league in 1993 and the Champions League in 1999.
“That was the best feeling I’ve ever had in '99,” he said. “If I really had to pick, I’d narrow it down to two. The league and the European Cup.
“I grew up a United fan and we hadn’t won it for 26 years. Then we do win it. The later ones were … satisfying because you’d see some of your team-mates win it for the first time and you were buzzing off that.
“Like Moscow (2008). It was different because you see Rooney, Ronaldo and all these players who’ve never won it before and you’re buzzing for them as well as yourself.”
Updated: June 7, 2020 06:55 PM
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