MANCHESTER, England – Ryan Giggs had almost become the forgotten man at Old Trafford this season. That's about to change.
In the most turbulent period at Manchester United in a generation, the club is turning to one of its greatest players to restore some order.
Giggs was appointed United's temporary coach Tuesday following the firing of David Moyes after a woeful 10 months in charge.
The Welshman is still on United's playing squad at age 40 — in the 23rd season of a remarkable career at the club. He was a member of Moyes' coaching staff and has had aspirations for a while of being a manager. Now he'll get his chance.
With four league games remaining, Giggs is likely to be in charge until the end of the season, starting with Saturday's home match against Norwich.
The task? To lift some of the gloom surrounding the club and aim for 12 points that could earn United a place in next season's Europa League, scant comfort in a sobering year.
"I definitely think Ryan will be a manager," former United captain Bryan Robson said Tuesday. "Whether he gets it full time at a club like Manchester United is a big ask."
A person with knowledge of the situation at United said Giggs was not being considered for the full-time position and the club would be seeking an experienced manager. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the club was yet to announce the moves.
Four straight wins to end the season may just make United's board think again, however. Especially if his team plays with the heart and adventure that has characterized Giggs' distinguished career.
"For me, I think in the last four games, there will be more togetherness and playing a brand of football that is more eye-catching," said Dwight Yorke, who played alongside Giggs in United's triple champion team in the 1998-99 season.
"Players will play more in the United way. Four games is not a lot, but I think Giggs is the right man."
One of Moyes' problems was his failure command respect from the players. In the end, it seemed they simply stopped playing for him.
That isn't likely to happen with Giggs. After all, he has won 13 Premier Leagues, four FA Cups, three League Cups, two Champions Leagues, one UEFA Super Cup, an Intercontinental Cup and a Club World Cup. He also played for 22 years under former manager Alex Ferguson.
Some United fans felt Moyes underused Giggs, with the midfielder making just five first-team appearances since the turn of the year. Off the field, Moyes reportedly ignored Giggs' advice on occasions.
Giggs, speaking at a news conference before the Champions League quarterfinal against Bayern Munich, stressed that his relationship with Moyes was good. He did say, however, he would have liked to have played more this season.
"I normally play every two or three weeks to get the best out of me," Giggs said. "The last game was probably my first for seven weeks. But you are not sulking, you just have to be ready to play your best for the team."
His new role will put him in front of microphones before and after matches, the spotlight on him brighter than in recent seasons. That will not suit a person whom Ferguson described in his autobiography as "introverted."
But Giggs' focus will be getting the best out of an underperforming group of players. And with United facing a favorable schedule — Norwich, Sunderland and Hull visit Old Trafford the next three weeks — Giggs' managerial record could look impressive come the end of the season.
Then United's owners, the Glazer family, will have some thinking to do.