Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt hope Ralf Rangnick can provide vision, stability at Man Utd

·3-min read
Ex-Manchester United players Ryan Giggs (left) and Nicky Butt during an event to launch the corporate social responsibility programme of digital football platform ZujuGP at East Coast Park. (PHOTO: ZujuGP)
Ex-Manchester United players Ryan Giggs (left) and Nicky Butt during an event to launch the corporate social responsibility programme of digital football platform ZujuGP at East Coast Park. (PHOTO: ZujuGP)

SINGAPORE — They came from the youth ranks to become stalwarts for Manchester United when the Red Devils were at their most dominant. 

And Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt, who were once part of the coaching staff at Old Trafford, are cautious yet optimistic amid the ongoing managerial upheaval, following the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the imminent arrival of interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

The German tactical guru, who is currently awaiting a work permit, takes over a club that has gained only five points from their past eight English Premier League matches. 

"It's important that the club have a plan, and they haven't had a clear plan this season. They used to have a plan with Ole - to get the club back on track with their tradition and philosophy - but he struggled when the plan changed into competing for top honours," said Butt, 46, during a livestream session hosted by digital football platform ZujuGP on Wednesday (1 December).

"But every time a new manager comes in, the club and the players would seem to get a lift. You hope the players start clicking because that's a very talented squad United have and they should be a lot higher up the league table."

Giggs, who had a brief spell as Man United interim manager in 2014, agreed. The 48-year-old Welshman - who holds United's club record for competitive appearances with 963 - said, "The club are trying to find that stability in this current football atmosphere where the fans and the media demand success straight away.

"For fans, to see other rivals like Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea doing well, and Man United not doing so well, it's been tough. So we hope that the new coach can come in and at least bring stability until the end of the season. Hopefully by then, there should be a plan to bring Man United to where they should be, competing for titles and trophies."

The duo were in Singapore over the past three days to help launch ZujuGP, which was founded by businessman Peter Lim and his son Kiat. The senior Lim also co-owns the English League Two club Salford City with Giggs, Butt and three other ex-Man United stars - Paul Scholes and Gary and Phil Neville.

They participated in an hour-long livestream session with Man United fans on ZujuGP on Wednesday, and another one on Thursday with coaches, clubs and academies which focuses on talent development in Asia.

Giggs and Butt also took part in a meet-the-fans event at East Coast Park on Thursday afternoon, sharing their life experiences with 19 youths from The Hut, a non-profit organisation and drop-in centre for children and youths. Minister for Manpower and Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC Dr Tan See Leng, was guest of honour for the event.

When asked whom they think is likely to become the permanent Man United manager after this season, Butt would only say that it's difficult to predict which managers currently working with other clubs will become available.

"But the hope is that, whoever takes over, he will have a clear football plan and revitalised players to work with. That is key to Rangnick's appointment, and so the next few months are important in setting the direction for the future of the club. Hopefully, he and Man United can get it right," he said.

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