Old Trafford will see Ryan Giggs running down the wing once again – as dramatic news broke Friday morning that the winger is to copy Paul Scholes and come out of retirement. The Welsh Wizard, whom Sir Alex Ferguson memorably described as a “cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper in the wind,” is putting his boots back on as part of manager Louis van Gaal’s desperate final attempt to qualify for the Champions League.
Van Gaal pressed for Giggs to come out of retirement because of the Welshman’s fitness, versatility and, most importantly, the experience required to shepherd a group of academy graduates into the top four.
“It is the decision of the trainer-coach, but Ryan and I have been talking about this for a while,” Van Gaal told ManUtd.com. “He’s still athletic and can play in a number of positions like 11, nine, and at eight. Even the left full-back role. He is a multi-functional player and that is always part of the philosophy.”
Giggs, 42, said that the prospect of playing again was something that he couldn’t resist, especially when prowling the touchline at Old Trafford this season. Despite his advanced age the Welshman insists that he has what it takes to make an impact in the Premier League.
“I missed it. The feeling of being on the pitch is indescribable. I mean it feels electric, so I guess it is describable, but seeing some of our performances this season I was tempted to get on and do things by myself,” Giggs said. “I still do yoga, and I keep training and working on my technique. I believe that I can do it.”
Van Gaal is banking on Giggs’ return to help impart his philosophy in a more direct way as the season draws to a close.
“I have always told you that I am a trainer-coach,” the Dutchman said. “But I used to be a player-coach too I have invented that role when I was younger because I am an innovator. I would still be a player-coach but I am 64 years old now so I cannot do that anymore. Ryan can still play though and can be a player-coach so it is perfect, no?”
Giggs’ return, which is subject to FA clearance, will offer a real lift to United’s season – one that threatens to end in disaster. However, the Welshman’s ambition is not limited to a club comeback.
“The European Championships is just around the corner and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to part of it,” Giggs admitted. “This is a final opportunity to play in a major football tournament, I have to take that chance!”
The winger also divulged that being part of the Welsh set-up could help United engineer the transfer of a long-term target this summer.
“When I spoke to Ed (Woodward) about my plans he said it was a great idea,” said Giggs. “Then he suggested that if I get back into the Welsh team then maybe I could have a word with Gareth Bale and see if he’s interested in a move to Old Trafford. I told Ed I’d try and he looked pleased.”
If Giggs can provide the ammunition for Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial then the decision to come out of retirement will be fully vindicated. To complete this remarkable turn of events Giggs will once again don his famous number 11 jersey.
For the fans it means one last chance to break into a famous chant in full voice: “Giggs, Giggs will tear you apart again!”