While Manchester United improved from sixth to second in the Premier League table this past season, they still really struggled, at times, to provide entertainment for their supporters. Wales Manager and United club icon Ryan Giggs hopes the club with which he served for 29 years will showcase more flair and create more excitement next season.
While United have improved since Jose Mourinho replaced Louis van Gaal, they sometimes still play the same kind of dull, tedious football that we saw under the last managerial regime. It doesn’t help that the season ended with one of the hardest to watch outings of all, a boring 1-0 loss to Chelsea in the FA Cup Final.
Closing the year on that note provides a recency effect which isn’t good for United’s brand of football and its reputation. Because at Manchester United you can’t just win, you have to win with panache and style.
“First of all, I was a Manchester United fan,” said Giggs in an interview with ESPN FC
“I used to climb over the fence when I was a seven, eight-year-old, get the match bus to Old Trafford. Right from when I can remember, I used to go to Old Trafford and then, fast-forward to 17, 18, I played for the first team. I understand how the club works, what the fans want, because I was a fan.”
Giggs served as assistant manager under Van Gaal, and as caretaker manager when David Moyes was sacked. The Welshman cited three players by name that he wants to see provide more excitement- Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba. Giggs then harkened back to his playing days, when United played thrilling, swashbuckling football under Sir Alex Ferguson.
“I was also a player who wanted to excite the crowd, to get the fans on their feet. I want to see exciting players. I want to see Rashford, I want to see Martial, I want to see Pogba try things. That’s what I tried to do when I was playing,” Giggs continued.
“It was a really tight-knit group. We had players like Roy Keane, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who were a similar age, and we had a really good team spirit.”
Giggs, who won 13 league titles and three European trophies during his time at Old Trafford, also spot-lighted the importance of team chemistry, and articulated how great cohesiveness can be easily more achieved when there’s a core of players who all come up together through the youth system.
“It always helps when you have the nucleus of players who know what the club’s about or have been through the youth system. If you can get that then it’s something special and it doesn’t happen very often,” Giggs added.
“They were special times because you’re not only playing with teammates, you’re playing with friends.”
As we saw down the stretch when Romelu Lukaku was injured, the Red Devils didn’t provide much in attack, when Martial and Rashford were entrusted to be their primary scoring threats. And of course, as is often said, United can only go as far as Pogba can take them. He needs to be United’s best player in order for United to be at their best.
Thus the three players name-dropped by Ryan Giggs are indeed the three players that really are the most important towards making this club fun to watch again.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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