Ryan Giggs has said that Louis van Gaal will "not be scared" by the challenge awaiting him at Manchester United.
Van Gaal will officially take over as manager at Old Trafford next week after completing duties with the Netherlands at the FIFA World Cup™. The Dutchman has been charged with the responsibility of lifting United after a poor last season in which they finished seventh in the Premier League and failed to qualify for Europe.
It was a heavy slump by United after two decades of almost uninterrupted success, but Giggs believes 62-year-old Van Gaal has the track record and perfect character for the task. The former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has underlined his credentials in the past month by guiding Holland to the semi-finals in Brazil.
Giggs, who will be Van Gaal's assistant manager, said: "I think, like everyone would expect, he has got a clear philosophy and he sticks to that philosophy. He won't be afraid of taking over Manchester United. He will relish it, he will look forward to it.
"He has been at Bayern, he has been at Barcelona - he has been at huge clubs. Obviously Manchester United, in my view, are the biggest. He is not scared about the challenge, he is not apprehensive. He can't wait and he has got the experience.
"It won't be easy, it never is. The Premier League is a tough league to win, but that is what we will be trying to do. I am just excited by how forthright and how clear he was and what he expects of the staff and the players."
Giggs, who brought his illustrious United playing career to end in May to take up his new role, met Van Gaal when the club appointed him prior to the World Cup. Since then, there has been some contact between the pair and Van Gaal has mapped out plans for pre-season.
Because of that, Giggs expects the new manager to hit the ground running when they travel to USA for the club's pre-season tour next week. Giggs said: "I have spoken to him a couple of times and swapped emails.
"Obviously it has been hard as he has been preparing for games or travelling somewhere, but preparations have gone well. The blueprint and everything has been prepared by Louis and we are just following his plans.
"It is not ideal but not really a problem. Within a week we will all be together and we are spending two-and-a-half weeks together in the US. He will get to know the players and they will get to know him. Then we have got more or less two weeks when we get back, so there is plenty of time before the season starts."
Giggs was speaking at a press conference at which United announced they would complete their pre-season preparations with a friendly against Valencia on 12 August. The match will be Van Gaal's first in charge at Old Trafford and will come four days before United are due to begin their Premier League campaign against Swansea.
Giggs feels the announcement and the imminent arrival of Van Gaal has whetted appetites for the new campaign. He said: "Everyone is excited. We had a disappointing season last year, but everyone is keen to get us back where we belong and that is at the top. Everyone is pulling in the right direction and we will need to do that to get back to the top. We are all working as hard as we can to try to achieve that."