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Van Gaal names Giggs as his successor

Manchester United's manager has backed his assistant to inherit the managerial job.

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Laurence Griffiths

If Manchester United fans have learned one thing over the last year or so, it's that letting one manager choose his successor is, at best, a risk. But Louis van Gaal laughs in the face of risk, precedent and the still painful memories of last season, and is happy to tell us who should be next in the dugout.

Speaking at a dinner in honour of his assistant manager, Ryan Giggs, Van Gaal was effusive in his praise for Manchester United's fans ...

I am wandering the streets to pick out a restaurant in Manchester and in five metres I can walk and then 'I want a picture of you'. Then I say 'five points out of five matches?'. 'But we have confidence in you'.

.. players ...

I shall do my utmost best and I have to say that all the players are doing their utmost best. I am very pleased with the behaviour of my players ...

... and, last but not least ...

but I am more pleased with the guest of honour tonight [Giggs].

[...] I have seen a lot of trainees and I have thought that Ryan Giggs is a trainee but he isn't a trainee, he is an exception. I have seen a lot of trainees and I am very happy with him because he has showed already that he can communicate with the group in front of him. And I have seen that he can explain what - how do you say in English? - what is the issue of the training session. And he can say it in a different way, which is a miracle because not so many ex-players can do that. But not only that, Ryan, you are in my opinion a very nice guy ... he is so modest, so normal, and he is such a great star.

So far, so straightforward. But then, right at the end, he signs off with a flourish that sounds an awful lot like an endorsement of Giggs as his successor.

Because he is the star of the evening and really deserves that and I am convinced that you are - how do you call it in English? - Ok, this Van Gaal is over, he (Giggs) is the man!'

The video's here if you want to watch it. We do not know quite how enthusiastically the Iron Tulip had been partaking of the hospitality.