Ryan Giggs has revealed how working alongside Louis van Gaal was the ‘perfect’ preparation for his first job in senior management with Wales.
Giggs spent his entire playing career at Manchester United and enjoyed two decades under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, before moving into a coaching role upon his retirement and working as an assistant to Van Gaal in the Old Trafford dugout.
The Welshman has now revealed the influence the duo have had on his own managerial career in charge of the national side, and explained how Van Gaal’s ‘international mentality’ was the perfect preparation ahead of taking the Wales job.
“I was under Sir Alex for 20-odd years and he named the team an hour-and-a-half before kick-off,” Giggs told The Athletic.
“There were certain times – Barcelona in the (2008 Champions League) semi-final perhaps – where he would want to work on something. But more often than not everybody knew their jobs. We would just tweak something every now and again. So I had success doing it that way. If players were surprised, there wasn’t enough time to concentrate on that.
“But then, under Louis, he worked a lot more on tactical aspects, new players, different way of playing, different philosophy, and I felt he came into club football still with that international mentality regarding meetings, regarding preparations. So for me, with my first job, that was perfect.
“For the Slovakia game [in March 2019], the players knew two days before, because that’s when I do my meeting and then go out and do the XI v XI. They’ll know when the team goes up. I don’t want it to be a shock for players who, like Ash [Williams], have performed for Wales before.”