Sir Alex Ferguson has become a Manchester United legend for the many trophies that he brought to the club in an unprecedented period of success, so it’s perhaps something of a surprise that one of his most trusted servants, Ryan Giggs, has agreed with Wayne Rooney’s sentiments that the players learned more under Louis van Gaal’s stewardship.
Giggs played under Fergie from the early 1990s until the managers retirement, with Van Gaal taking over after David Moyes’ ill-fated Old Trafford reign.
It appears that the arrival of the Dutchman took the Red Devils to an entirely different level, at least in terms of their tactical appreciation and why playing different systems were important.
“In those two years I learned more than under any other manager,” Rooney had said in the book LVG – The Manager and the Total Person, cited in the Daily Mirror.
“This is why I will be forever grateful to him. Not just for making me captain, but also for all the trust and belief he had in me.”
Giggs joined MUTV Chat, cited by Metro, and aside from speaking about current matters pertaining to the club, he also backed up old team-mate Rooney’s opinion.
“I understand what Wayne was saying because Louis worked a lot more on the training pitch with regards to patterns of play and tactical work and he came from Holland with an international background to actually taking that into club football,” he said.
“So a lot of meetings, players felt sometimes too many but with Sir Alex it was quite simple ‘I’m not saying we didn’t have meetings, of course we did but we had such good players that the manager would just have to tell them once and it would just be a little tweak here.
“You know Park go and mark Pirlo or something like that to stop a team playing and Ji would do it and do it brilliantly. So I know what Wayne meant with regards to we’ve learned a lot under Louis.”
Though both Rooney’s and Giggs’ words are still from a standpoint of mutual respect for both managers that they worked under, one can’t help but feel a little aggrieved for Sir Alex.
Nurturing United’s ‘golden generation’ to greatness on such a consistent basis has to rank as the biggest of achievements by anyone at the club during its storied history.
Van Gaal clearly has merit for his achievements in football generally, but his time at Old Trafford, from a results perspective, can’t really be compared.