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DI MARIA CRISIS: Why Scholes right to raise Giggs' Man Utd frustrations

COMMENT: Sorry, Louis, but Scholesy hasn't plucked this one out of thin air.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal may be "very irritated" by claims of tension between himself and his assistant, Ryan Giggs. But Paul Scholes, on duty with BT Sport, wasn't indulging in conjecture when declaring his former United teammate is getting itchy feet.

Scholes and Giggs are no distant acquaintances. They own a club together (Salford City), they sit on the same board, they hire and fire managers - and scout and sign players. It's reasonable to assume the pair have discussed working under Van Gaal and the Welshman's own managerial ambitions.

It's claimed Giggs is "furious" with Scholes for making his remarks on the eve for Wednesday's win at Newcastle United. But his good friend was doing the right thing, providing a proper, independent insight on what is happening at Old Trafford.

Then came the video. The non-celebration. And the contrast with Van Gaal and the Dutch contingent jumping for joy at Ashley Young's late winner. Had LVG just silenced Giggs' halftime protests?

The reaction to a barely 5 second sequence has been overblown. It's difficult to see how you can read anything negative into Van Gaal's tapping of Giggs' cheek. Indeed, many United fans, frustrated by the Dutchman's usual stone-faced demeanour will have welcomed a show of real passion from the manager (still managing to keep hold of that damn clipboard).

But Scholes' comments deserve greater scrutiny. Not the least in a week when Brian McClair has left the club to take up a directorship with the Scottish FA. After David Moyes' backroom clearout, plus the departures of senior players like Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, Giggs, particularly in terms of on-field staff, is just about the last link between the present and the Sir Alex Ferguson era. Over the last 12 months, Carrington, in terms of personnel, has been completely transformed - as has the football.

Which is where Scholes was hitting on a crucial point. Giggs "wants to be a manager", he says. He has his ideas about the way the game is played and if they can't be fulfilled working under Van Gaal, he won't hang around.

When Giggs took charge for those last three games last season, he kicked off his mini-reign, declaring: "I want to see goals, tackles, players taking players on and getting the crowd up. I want the passion that should come with being a Manchester United player.

"I want players to play with speed and tempo and be brave with imagination, all the things that are expected of a Manchester United player."

Compare those words, that philosophy, with Van Gaal's comments just last week about taking the risk OUT of their passing. The possession style may be entertaining for fans at the Nou Camp or Allianz Arena, but it's not the 'Manchester United way' - and not how Giggs views the game.

Angel di Maria could be the flashpoint.

Di Maria is a Manchester United player. A talent worthy of the No7 shirt. But is he a Van Gaal player?

You can just imagine Giggs' frustration, seeing the Argentine suffer, even humiliated, in the past week as he's been hooked by Van Gaal. The former No11 has stated he sees a lot of himself in the record signing.

If United were playing with the "passion and speed" Giggs espoused last season, would Di Maria be suffering so woefully as he is today?

United need to be careful, as Di Maria's sudden decline is alarming - and is reminiscent of his final year at Real Madrid. In Madrid he felt undervalued, particularly by president Florentino Perez.

In terms of personality, Perez's equivalent at United is Van Gaal and hooking Di Maria at halftime against Sunderland and inside the hour at Newcastle United will not have gone down well. We're not talking about a youth teamer here, but someone who has won the Champions League and La Liga. And a player who, at this stage, needs more carrot than stick.

His family are still recovering from an attempted home invasion and he's also in the middle of Van Gaal's row with his agent, Jorge Mendes. You'd like to think the football pitch could be an escape for Di Maria, but instead he's become part of the problem as United have lurched and laboured through games.

Opta stats claim Van Gaal has played Di Maria in SEVEN different positions this season. Could you see Sir Alex doing the same with Andrei Kanchelskis or Cristiano Ronaldo in their first seasons in England?

You fancy Giggs, in the traditions of Fergie, playing Di Maria on the left flank, sticking Luke Shaw behind him and telling the Argie to just get on with it. It sounds simple, but football doesn't always have to be complicated, especially when you have the talent of Di Maria.

Only this week, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers revealed their new 4-3-3 formation was designed specifically for Raheem Sterling.

But at United, its Louis van Gaal's team and it's his system. Di Maria must adapt to his (seven) ways.

And for the moment, it appears so does Giggs, a real United man, but for how long?

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Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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