van Gaal Decided My Manchester United Retirement – Giggs

Giggs

Former Manchester United Player has opened up that Louis van Gaal told him he was retiring as a player upon taking charge at Manchester United.

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At the age of 40, Giggs announced his retirement in May 2014 after becoming the most decorated player in United’s history.

He became Van Gaal’s assistant after retiring and told the Telegraph his decision to stop playing had been down to the former Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Netherlands coach.

“When I first met Louis we got talking and he asked me to be his assistant after just 30 minutes of conversation,” he wrote. “I accepted and then he told me that he had one condition. I had to retire. In fact, he said he had made the decision for me.

“I was officially retired as a player as of that moment. As soon as he said so, it felt right. I learned more about coaching from Louis over the next two years than I thought possible.”

He praised Van Gaal’s work at Old Trafford, saying: “He was completely thorough. Everyone in the team knew their role exactly and in the first season we made good progress.

“It was only last season that we lost our way, although it would be wrong to say that was all Louis’ fault. We must all take our share of the blame.”

Former Wales international Giggs had spent the bulk of his career under Sir Alex Ferguson but played on for a year when David Moyes took the reins in 2013, operating as a player-coach before a brief stint as caretaker manager when the former Everton boss was dismissed.

He said the training sessions under Moyes were “excellent” but he did not enjoy his bit-part role under the Scot.

He said: “When David Moyes was appointed to replace Sir Alex, he called me and asked me to be a player-coach. I was on my UEFA Pro Licence course at the Under-20s World Cup in Turkey and asked for some time to think about it.

“I assumed it would be a natural transition. It wasn’t. I still wanted to contribute as a player and when you are a player you cannot focus on anything else.

“I did not take any training sessions because David did that, and if not there was Phil Neville and Steve Round.

“There was also a period after January when I barely played a first-team minute — a new experience for me. Of course, I knew that at 40 I was not going to be playing every week but I was fit and it was not as if the team were playing well.

“I found that hard. I remained professional, but I cannot say I enjoyed it.”

He said a significant factor in Moyes’ reign coming to an early end had been the club’s failures in the transfer market.

United had sought to bring in Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich, Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona and Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao, while Barcelona’s Thiago Alcantara was also reported to be a target, but their main signing that summer was Marouane Fellaini from Moyes’ former club Everton — a deal only completed at the end of the summer window.

“The recruitment in that first summer under David Moyes didn’t go to plan,” Giggs wrote.

“I don’t blame David. He came in without any of the inside knowledge about how the squad worked: when certain players needed resting, who was right for which game, who needed to be moved on and who needed to be encouraged.

“Those of us who had lived through it could help him a bit, but a manager has to acquire that knowledge over time.

“Signing Marouane Fellaini so close to the deadline that August, the club’s only major deal in a summer when we needed two or three big names, suggested that things were not running smoothly.

“United had signed players late in the window before — Dimitar Berbatov in 2008 springs to mind — but this time was different.

“This time it was more of a panic.”

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