Football: Giggs appointed Man United interim boss, van Gaal tipped for permanent post

LONDON (AFP) - Veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs was appointed interim manager of Manchester United on Tuesday, shortly after the club announced the sacking of David Moyes.

"Following the departure of David Moyes as manager, Manchester United has announced that Ryan Giggs, the club's most decorated player, will assume responsibility for the first team until a permanent appointment can be made," read a statement on the United website. "The club will make no further comment on this process until it is concluded."

Giggs, 40, made his United debut in March 1991 and has made a record 962 appearances for the club, winning 13 Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues, four FA Cups, four League Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup. He has no previous managerial experience, but has combined his role as a player with a position on United's coaching staff since the start of the current campaign.

Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal was installed as the bookmakers' favourite to succeed Moyes on a permanent basis.

The 62-year-old Dutchman, who has coached Barcelona, Ajax Amsterdam and Bayern Munich in a distinguished career, has already said he will step down from the national team after the World Cup in July and had been linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur.

While United have never appointed a manager from outside Britain or Ireland, Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp was the widespread second favourite to replace Moyes, even though the 46-year-old German has released a media statement yesterday saying: "Man United are a great club and I feel very familiar with their wonderful fans. But my commitment to Borussia Dortmund and the people is not breakable."

Klopp is rated just ahead of United's 40-year-old midfielder and assistant coach Giggs. Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, who has led the Spanish side to top of the La Liga table and a Champions League semi-final this season, was fourth favourite.

Ferguson's former assistant and now Iran boss Carlos Queiroz, together with ex United players Eric Cantona and David Beckham are rated as long shots.

The new manager needs to undertake a major rebuilding job at the club, having to replace a large number of ageing players while facing at least a season without Champions League football.