Ryan Giggs, the most decorated player in the history of Manchester United, could well be in the frame for the head coach’s job, says ex-United striker Mark Hughes.
Giggs, who is responsible for guiding Wales to the Euros in his first role as a first-team boss, stands a good chance of being the next in line to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer if he guides Wales to a successful European Championships next summer. The pressure is already intensifying in the Norwegian’s corner following a poor start to the season, with an opening home loss to Chelsea and the 6-1 trouncing by Spurs under former manager Jose Mourinho, of all people.
Hughes – who played with Giggs at United and has managed a host of Premier League clubs – says the current Wales manager may well have his eyes set further ahead on the United hotseat.
‘I think Ryan is in a good place in his management career,’ Hughes said, as reported by BBC Sport.
‘He is on an upward trend. He is probably more likely to get an opportunity at Manchester United than he was when [Louis] Van Gaal left. Maybe they felt his management CV wasn’t strong enough at that point, but if he goes to the European Championship and does well, then there’s no reason why he won’t be in the frame.
‘He was a fantastic player throughout his career and he’s had good opportunities to learn the game on the other side of the fence. Obviously he was mentored by Sir Alex [Ferguson] for many years and in later years he was able to work alongside him.
‘He then worked very closely with Van Gaal for a couple of years, which I felt was a good decision by him and the club.
‘I thought that was with a view to him taking over the role when Van Gaal left. It wasn’t to be, they made the decision to go for a bigger name in terms of management – [Jose] Mourinho.
‘I think that was pushed maybe a little bit because of the appointment at Manchester City of Guardiola. Maybe they felt they needed like for like, which probably affected Ryan’s chances.’
Hughes’ comments emerge as Ed Woodward is reportedly prepared to put sentiment aside to sack the Norwegian when push comes to shove, if results do not rapidly take a turn for the positive.
Giggs enjoyed a brief stint as player-manager at Old Trafford at the end of the 2013-14 season when David Moyes was sacked in April 2014 and retired that summer to become Louis van Gaal’s assistant in continuing his tenure at Old Trafford from 2014-2016.
For the time being, Giggs’ immediate priority will be Wales’ UEFA Nations League clash against Ireland on Sunday afternoon, with his side aiming to bounce back following a three-goal defeat in a friendly against England at Wembley on Thursday night.