Former players back Giggs as United boss

Manchester United are believed to be close to appointing Dutchman Louis van Gaal as permanent manager.

Manchester United interim manager Ryan Giggs (Centre, L) with his fellow 'Class of 92' coaching staff. Picture:

LONDON - As Manchester United ponder the vital decision about who will become their next manager former players continue to champion the cause of Ryan Giggs.

The Welshman was given the job until the end of the season following the sacking of David Moyes last week and made a positive start with assured performances in front of the media and an emphatic 4-0 win over Norwich City on Saturday.

Dutchman Louis van Gaal is the favourite but Dutch media reports have said he would insist on bringing Patrick Kluivert and a team of his coaches to Old Trafford, putting the future of Giggs in doubt.

Giggs's former team mates have no doubts he is ready for the role despite his obvious lack of managerial experience.

"He started well on Saturday," former United defender Gary Neville said this week.

"So let him have two or three more games to see whether he settles into the position and whether he can bed in and be given that role.

"There's the idea that Ryan hasn't got experience, but he knows the club. And then there's the idea that Van Gaal has massive experience, but he doesn't know the Premier League.

"At the end of the day the owners will do what they want to do. I suppose in some ways they want an experienced hand, but I personally would like to see a British manager be appointed because Manchester United have always appointed British managers."

Neville said the success of young managers like Diego Simeone, Pep Guardiola and Kenny Dalglish proved that experience was not always necessary.

"There is no hard and fast rule in appointing managers nowadays," said Neville, a close friend of Giggs and now working as a television analyst.

"You've seen different examples of how sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't work, and until you appoint someone, you haven't got a clue whether it's going to work or not.

"From that point of view, people say Ryan's got no experience, but then is Van Gaal going to work? We don't know. It's a call for people at the club."

Former United striker Louis Saha also backed his ex-team mate. "He can do the job now, for sure," the Frenchman said.

"It seems like an easy choice for now because he proved he can do it last weekend.

"I was sad to see David Moyes go. But maybe it would have been more clever to give (Giggs) his chance months ago."

Giggs, assisted by his good friends and former United class of 92 members Nicky Butt, Phil Neville and Paul Scholes, made a confident start, promising his team would play with tempo and passion.

He made a bold decision to leave Marouane Fellaini, signed by Moyes for 27.5 million pounds (R487.3 million) in August, out of the squad against Norwich and started record signing Juan Mata on the bench.

The Spanish midfielder scored twice after coming on as a second-half substitute and Old Trafford rejoiced at watching a much more fluent and vibrant display than they had become used to under the cautious Moyes.

Giggs has home games against Sunderland and Hull City to negotiate before taking United to Southampton on the final day of the season and four successive wins would considerably strengthen his claims to get the job.

United chief executive Ed Woodward will be reluctant to upset the fans by jettisoning the hugely popular Giggs, the club's most decorated player and still in the first-team squad at the age of 40, but he will also covet the proven pedigree of Van Gaal.

The 62-year-old Netherlands coach has won league titles as manager of Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona and Bayern Munich and whether he and Giggs can both be accommodated in a workable managerial set-up appears to be at the heart of Woodward's conundrum.