Ryan Giggs might be about to enter his 23rd season with Manchester United, his first as part-time coach, but the Welshman has lost nothing of his energy and enthusiasm and, despite turning 40 in November, he’s every bit as excited as players 10-15 years his junior.
Speaking at United’s arrival in Sydney, Giggsy expressed his delight at the number of youngsters United have involved in the pre-season tour and has tipped them for a bright future, ahead one of United’s most challenging season over the last quarter of a century.
“I am excited. Adnan [Januzay] did well – he looks a really good prospect,” Giggs said of the 18-year-old Belgian youngster, at his first appearance with United’s senior squad. “He has trained with us quite a bit in pre-season and did well again. Now it is just about having that experience and learning from the older players and doing what he does best. You don’t want to get ahead of yourself. He is only young.”
Giggsy was also full of praise for Wilfried Zaha, as the £15m January signing showed glimpses of his potential during United’s 1-0 defeat against the Singha All Star XI: “Wilfried came on and was unlucky not to score and Jesse got some shots off as well. It was good experience for these lads to come on the tour, play in front of big crowds and get that experience. All the players I mentioned, not just Wilfried, are tremendous prospects. They are all exciting and will gain experience from games like this.”
Asked about his first week as coach, Giggs admitted that while he’s been involved in only a handful of sessions so far, the process behind the scenes has already provided invaluable information: “It has worked well so far. I am excited about it personally. It is about getting the balancing act right because I am still playing. I have enjoyed it so far,” said Giggsy.
“Regarding coaching, the manager likes to coach. There is Jim Lumsden, Steve Round, Phil Neville. There is not a big emphasis on that [for me] at the moment. It is looking behind the scenes and seeing how everything works. I am enjoying it so far.
“It is completely different from playing. Even though I have been playing for 20-odd years you are seeing the other side of it. You are seeing how you prepare for games. It is something I had not experienced as a player. Some things I knew, others I didn’t. It has been a real education.”
Now all we need is a midfielder, to let Giggsy concentrate on the coaching, rather than on slugging it out in midfield.