By Jack Beresford
Ryan Giggs’ appointment as Wales manager has received a mixed reaction from fans – and it’s not difficult to see why.
The Manchester United legend has spent much of the past two years complaining about the lack of Premier League managerial opportunities afforded to him, despite boasting little to no experience.
Giggs has steadfastly refused to even contemplate the idea of dropping down a division or two to manage either, because he feels his top-level experience as a player with the Red Devils means he’s primed for top-level management and top-level management only.
He’s now been tasked with replacing Chris Coleman, arguably Wales’ most successful ever manager given their Euro 2016 run, and if Giggs’ previous efforts with United are anything to go by, things might be about to go cockeyed for Cymru.
Anyone who tuned in to ‘Life Of Ryan: Caretaker Manager’ (the David Brent-esque ITV documentary series chronicling Giggs’ four-game stint in charge of United following David Moyes’ sacking in April of 2014) will know only too well that he really isn’t the most motivational of speakers.
Arguably the high/low point came ahead of United’s final game of the season, away at Southampton, when Giggs delivered a team talk that was the very antithesis of Al Pacino’s famous growling “Inch by Inch” speech from Any Given Sunday.
Spoken in near-monotone, Giggs roared:
Right, the team today, is going to have to work hard because these work their bollocks off and they’re good at home.
But the team that we’ve got, we’ve got experience, we’ve got pace, we’ve got players who are comfortable on the ball.
Sure, none of that has prevented them from edging towards a worst-ever Premier League finish, but Giggs had done his homework:
They do die at the end, so subs you might come on and win the game. So concentrate and watch the game.
Having covered the “tactics”, Giggs goes on to offer up the world’s least stirring battle cry:
It’s the last game of the season, we want to end on a high. We want to give our fans something to shout about. F**king City or Liverpool are going to win the league…erm, give our fans something to shout about.
It’s been a frustrating season, but it’s a good game to play in and one that I’m looking forward to because of the exciting players we’ve got on the pitch, okay?
United went on to draw 1-1 with the Saints, having fallen behind to a Ricky Lambert goal only for Juan Mata to spare their blushes.
The result meant the Red Devils missed out on Europa League qualification, the first time the club would be absent from Europe for 25 years.
Louis van Gaal subsequently seized the reigns from Giggs, who was bumped down to assistant.
But, yeah, Wales should be fine.