Football

Ryan's ready to steady the ship

Former United captain Robson believes his former teammate is the perfect replacement if van Gaal leaves

Ryan Giggs is ready to become Manchester United's next manager if Louis van Gaal is shown the door a year early at the end of the season, former club captain Bryan Robson said.

Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has been tipped to take over at Old Trafford but Robson says his former teammate, who is assistant to van Gaal, would be a perfect choice.

"The thing for me is that van Gaal was always going to be a three-year contract with Ryan working under him so that they could see whether he was ready to step in," Robson told Reuters at the launch of United's partnership with Gulf Oil International at the club's Carrington training centre.

GREAT PLAYER

"Ryan was a great player for this club, he loves playing football the United way, he's done all his badges and for me he's in the right place at the right time."

"People say it's too big a challenge, too big a jump. But I don't agree.

"Look at Pep Guardiola, he came through the ranks at Barcelona as a player and then as a young coach and then they trusted him and he stepped up. He was tremendously successful.

"It's the same with Ryan."

Asked if it was conceivable that van Gaal, who signed a three-year contract last May, would see out his final season at Old Trafford, Robson said the Dutchman's minimum requirement would be to ensure United secure a top-four finish in the Premier League.

They face a replay at West Ham in the quarter-final of the FA Cup after Sunday's 1-1 draw and must try and overhaul a 2-0 deficit against Liverpool on Friday morning (Singapore time) in the Europa League last 16.

Robson felt both are still possible.

He said: "I think he needs to win something, or at least get United into Europe, that's the least we have to look at."

Defender Chris Smalling believes United can flourish in this week's "massive" matches if they can replicate the display that kept their FA Cup dreams alive.

"I think it did (lift us)," he said of Anthony Martial's equaliser against the Hammers.

"To go 1-0 down and obviously everything is against you with previous results, then to show some fighting character and really push for the winner at the end I think hopefully does boost us.

"We have got massive games now and obviously it is another game with the replay as well, so we've still got a lot of games to play for."

FURTHER SCRUTINY

Should United be unable to lift themselves against Manchester City (on Sunday) and Liverpool, their manager's future is likely to come under further scrutiny.

However, former Red Devils stalwart Paul Ince believes the speculation surrounding United's 64-year-old boss is proving detrimental to the side's performances.

He said: "It's not nice as a manager when (you hear) talk about other managers coming in.

"You've seen it with Manchester City and Pep Guardiola. And City have been terrible, apart from beating (Aston) Villa.

"It does have an effect on players...

"A this talk of Mourinho - we don't even know if it will be Mourinho, it could be Giggsy or anyone or van Gaal (staying) - it's hard to say what change that could have as you would be changing the whole system again.

"(The new manager) will bring in new players and (the club) start again.

"Manchester United have always been about consistency and it would be important to keep van Gaal now."

His former teammate Gary Pallister agreed. He said: "I'm sure everything's addressed at the end of season and looked at. This season won't be any different. What we don't want to see is changing managers willy nilly and having to start again."

- Wire Services.

Bryan Robsonlouis van gaalRyan GiggsPaul inceGay Pallisterchris smallingManchester UnitedeplFootball