Sir Alex Ferguson has backed new Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho’s decision not to keep Ryan Giggs on as an assistant – and believes the Welshman is now ready for his own top job.
Mourinho will be unveiled to the press on Tuesday as the Red Devils’ third permanent manager since Ferguson resigned in 2013 after 27 years in charge at Old Trafford.
Giggs, who won 13 Premier League titles in Ferguson’s side, brought to an end his own 29-year association with the club on Saturday.
The 42-year-old made a record 963 appearances for United before managing them for four matches on an interim basis following the sacking of David Moyes in 2014.
He then formed part of the backroom staff for Louis van Gaal but, despite having 12 months left on his contract, has decided to leave his position as an assistant manager at United after the Dutchman was relieved of his duties in May.
Mourinho is expected to appoint long-term assistant Rui Faria having been handed the reins at Old Trafford, despite Giggs always being groomed as a future United boss.
Instead the Welshman will now look to sharpen his managerial teeth elsewhere, with Ferguson not surprised by Mourinho’s decision to stick with what he knows.
“If Jose hadn’t had an assistant, I know he would have taken Ryan,” the 74-year-old told BBC Sport.
“You have got to have, in your assistant, someone you have trusted all your life.
“When I came to United, I brought Archie Knox because he was a valuable person for me. I trusted him 100 per cent. Jose Mourinho has had his assistant for years and, quite rightly, has stuck by his own man.”
While former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss Mourinho is officially presented by United on Tuesday morning, Giggs’ future remains unclear.
He said on Saturday he has “no immediate plans” to step into management and he could look to continue his ventures into television punditry having drawn plaudits for his work with ITV during the ongoing European Championship.
Giggs, who was voted United’s all-time greatest player in an official poll in 2011, has admitted he ultimately wants to be a manager, though, and Ferguson has backed one of his most successful academy graduates to make the step up when the time comes.
“It is time Ryan stood on his own feet, got out there and accepted the challenge,” he said,
“He has a bit of steel about him.
“It is such a highly intense results industry, you need people who go into it to have a bit of steel about them, a bit of character and personality.
“I think he is ready to manage and he has a lot of quality. He doesn’t want to spoil that quality by going to a club where it is sacking a manager every two minutes.”