Giggs set to be first player to gain UEFA coaching badges while still playing

Ryan Giggs is signalling his intention to one day succeed Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United manager by becoming the first man to complete his UEFA Pro Licence during his playing days.

With Pep Guardiola now snapped up by Bayern Munich and many observers uncertain over the suitability for the job of the ever-controversial Jose Mourinho, Red Devils legend Giggs is emerging as a potential candidate to succeed Ferguson when he eventually stands down.

Giggs is set to prolong his playing career beyond the age of 40 by continuing next season  but has worked through his UEFA Pro 'B' and 'A' Licences before turning his attention to the final coaching badge he needs to be a Premier League and Champions League boss, even before his days as a top-flight player are up.

The Welshman has to complete 240 hours of study at the Football Association's St George's Park, and including three days at a European club, to gain the qualification.

Giggs must also make a detailed case study of a business as part of his course and is expected to graduate in the next 12 months after a period at Warwick University's Business School, according to the Independent.
This raises the spectre of Giggs needing to take time away from United to complete his studies.

During his time on the course, Giggs has met one of the youngest SAS soldiers, Floyd Woodrow, who has now left the regiment, and specialises in sports team building.

Giggs' former United team-mates Gary Neville and Paul Ince are also undertaking the course at the same time.

The winger turned playmaker will become only the third outfield player in the Premier League era, joining Teddy Sheringham and Gordon Strachan, to play into his 40s if he stays on at Old Trafford beyond this season.

The evergreen is already United's oldest outfield player in the post-war era, but has some way to go if he wants to take the all-time record.

That title is currently held by Billy Meredith, a Welsh outside forward who was 46 years and 281 days when he made his last appearance in red, on May 7, 1921 against Derby County.

Giggs was criticised for his early season performances, leading to strong suggestions that he would call time in the most decorated career in English football history at the end of the season. United's imminent move for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha appeared to be another sign of a vacancy.

However, Giggs' form over the last few weeks has been a throwback to days of old and his performance against West Ham earlier this month was good enough to earn him yet another man-of-the-match award.

And Ferguson has no doubts the veteran Welshman could play on next season, although Giggs is happy to delay that call for a few months.

'I am not thinking about my contract at the moment,' he said last week.

'It is like previous seasons, I am quite relaxed about it.

'I am just enjoying my football. There are so many crucial games at the moment I am not too bothered about what is happening next year.

'I feel good though.

'Obviously the manager knows how to look after me and I try and look after myself as best I can, which you have to at this age.

'I am not going to play every game but I have to be ready and prepared when called upon.'