Ryan Giggs has told ESPN FC that Manchester United’s flair players need to do more to excite the Old Trafford crowd.
Manager Jose Mourinho guided United to second in the Premier League, their best finish since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, but his team were at times criticised for their approach.
Giggs was a key part of United’s attacking style during a career that saw him win 13 Premier League titles, and the 44-year-old wants to see similar flair from players such as Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba.
“First of all, I was a Manchester United fan,” Giggs said at Tencent’s Super Penguin celebrity match in Shanghai on Saturday. “I used to climb over the fence when I was a seven, eight-year-old, get the match bus to Old Trafford.
“Right from when I can remember, I used to go to Old Trafford and then, fast-forward to 17, 18, I played for the first team. I understand how the club works, what the fans want, because I was a fan.
“I was also a player who wanted to excite the crowd, to get the fans on their feet. I want to see exciting players. I want to see Rashford, I want to see Martial, I want to see Pogba try things. That’s what I tried to do when I was playing.”
Giggs, now Wales manager, said he felt the camaraderie between a core group of players during his time at Old Trafford had been a major factor in the club’s success.
“It was a really tight-knit group,” he said. “We had players like Roy Keane, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who were a similar age, and we had a really good team spirit.
“It always helps when you have the nucleus of players who know what the club’s about or have been through the youth system. If you can get that then it’s something special and it doesn’t happen very often.
“They were special times because you’re not only playing with teammates, you’re playing with friends.”
Despite the changes since he left Old Trafford following the arrival of Mourinho in 2016, Giggs believes the club have enough players who appreciate United’s traditions.
“Football’s changing, but you still have the likes of Rashford, Lingard, Pogba — who was there when he was younger. You’ve got Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Michael Carrick’s just left, but a group of players who know what the club’s about,” he said.
“I think it’s always important to have that. It doesn’t guarantee you success — and if you don’t have that it doesn’t mean you’re not going to win — but it always helps if you do have that sort of team spirit.”
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch