SOUTHAMPTON, May 10: Ryan Giggs will take charge of Manchester United for the final time against Southampton on Sunday and is still undecided about whether to continue his playing career next season. (Read: 10 questions everyone’s asking for English Premier League’s final day)
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal is reportedly set to be named as David Moyes’s permanent successor as United manager next week following Giggs’s spell in temporary charge.
During that time, United have won two and lost one of their three matches under the veteran Welsh midfielder, with victories against Norwich City and Hull City coming either side of a home defeat to Sunderland. (Read: English Premier League 2014 Points Table)
The trip to St Mary’s for United’s last game of a traumatic campaign also marks the final appearance of Nemanja Vidic, the club captain who will join Inter Milan in the close-season, while fellow veteran defenders Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand are also coming to the end of their contracts and Giggs may be on the way out too.
The 40-year-old has only started six Premier League games this season and he remains uncertain if he will play on or go into management elsewhere if there is no room for him in Van Gaal’s plans at Old Trafford.
“I don’t know, my stance hasn’t changed,” Giggs said when asked if he would retire.
“I am going to take a holiday as soon as the season finishes and discuss with family and friends what to do next.
“My priorities are Southampton and getting ready for that. It is not something I am thinking too much about.
“It is a tough game and it is their last home game and just like we tried to do, we tried to end it on a high. It is going to be a tough game but one I am looking forward to.”
- Glimpse into the future -
While Giggs could be saying farewell to United on Sunday, the match may also offer a glimpse into the future.
Asked about Southampton’s England internationals Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw, who have been linked with moves to United, Giggs added: “They are exciting players.
“Lallana has been about for a bit, been at the club right through the different leagues. Luke Shaw has come to the fore this year and done really well.”
Wayne Rooney and Phil Jones are set to miss the match with respective groin and shoulder injuries, but Giggs maintains they will be fit to feature in the World Cup for England.
Giggs is refusing to give up on a place in the Europa League despite United needing Tottenham Hotspur to lose at home to Aston Villa to give them a chance of finishing sixth.
United trail Spurs by three points but their goal difference is far superior.
Giggs added: “That was the disappointing thing about losing to Sunderland. We had seen Tottenham get beat so it would have been in our hands. I maintain my stance, we want to be in Europe.”
Like Lallana and Shaw, the future of Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino has been questioned with the Argentine linked with a move to Tottenham.
Pochettino’s success in keeping his side in the top half of the table for almost all the campaign has won admirers, but the manager insists there will be no distraction when Saints wrap up their campaign.
“I don’t think it would be wise for us to get ahead of ourselves right now,” he said.
“I think we just need to focus on the amazing season that we’ve had.
“There really is nothing to decide. I still have one more year on my contract and I really haven’t spoken about it.
“I don’t really get it because it hasn’t come from me, these rumours have come from outside.
“We’ve achieved the best season in the Premier League in the history of this football club so I think that translates as not being distracted at all by these rumours.”