Is Ryan Giggs ready to take over permanently as Manchester United boss?

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Ryan Giggs is a Manchester United legend.

Plain and simple.

Yet the 40-year-old who has played in United’s first team since the age of 17 now has an entirely difference challenge facing him at Old Trafford: now he’s in charge of the locker room.

Following the firing of David Moyes as United manager on Tuesday, the Red Devils announced Giggs will take charge on an interim basis for the rest of the 2013-14 campaign as the player/coach steps up to lead his side in their time of need.

Giggs was appointed as one of Moyes’ coaches when the Scotsman took over just nine months and 22 days ago from Sir Alex Ferguson, and the former Welsh international now has the opportunity to prove he can manage one of, if not the, biggest clubs in the world.

Is Giggs just a stop gap or a genuine contender to become the new main man at Old Trafford?

(MORE: Manchester United fire David Moyes as manager)

After the announcement that he will take over for the remaining four games of the 2013-14 campaign — home games against Norwich City, Sunderland and Hull City before traveling to Southampton on the final day of the season — bookmakers slashed the odds on Giggs becoming the new manager of United. Other contenders include Louis van Gaal, Jurgen Klopp and Diego Simeone as the Glazer family now have a huge decision to make on Moyes’ successor.

Giggs is now the 7-1 second favorite, behind current Dutch national team boss van Gaal, as the bookies clearly see Giggs’ relatively quick appointment in the hotseat on a caretaker basis as a sign of how highly he’s respected within the clubs hierarchy.

(VIDEO: Where David Moyes went wrong at United)

As for fans, they seemed mixed on his appointment as many interviewed outside Old Trafford on Tuesday suggested Giggs “didn’t have enough managerial experience.” That is true, but does anyone other than Sir Alex Ferguson know the club better than Giggs?

I think not.

He’s the most decorated player in the clubs history after winning 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and two Champions League winner’s medals for United. In his 24 seasons as a professional player Giggs has racked up 962 appearances for United, scoring 168 goals, plus he’s the epitome of a one-club man and everything that oozes success from United’s prestigious pores.

Among many other records he has scored in all 21 PL seasons, has made 21 appearances this season and holds the PL record for most games played (631). That being said, surely people needn’t worry about a lack of experience from Giggs? He has proved himself to be a diligent and studious coach behind the scenes, as footage of him hurriedly taking notes and traveling all around the world last summer prove he’s taking his coaching badges seriously. Giggs is currently completing his UEFA Pro license and has already obtained his UEFA A and B licenses as he is the only current PL player to have the Pro license under his belt.

(MORE: Ryan Giggs appointed interim boss of Man United)

It is safe to say Giggs is preparing himself for life after playing soccer and with his playing contract running out at Old Trafford this summer, will Giggsy be signing a new deal as United’s new manager?

His inexperience will likely mean the Glazer family will look to van Gaal or other coaches with a track record of winning trophies at the elite level of soccer in Europe. Yet if Giggs can instantly turn his vast wealth of elite experience as a player into being a top coach, which he has already been working on this season and for most of the 2012-13 campaign, then why can’t he succeed?

Importantly, he will have the full support and respect of the playing staff and the fans. That is something that Moyes never had.

Foul or flop? Player “headbutts” referee, is sent off

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Well, there must be something in the water down in Brasilia, because things got a little weird this evening.

Flamengo drew with Vasco da Gama 2-2, but that was just the start.

In the 54th minute, with Vasco da Gama leading 1-0 at Estadio Nacional Mané Garrincha, 36-year-old Luis Fabiano was sent off for “headbutting” the referee. Headbutting is in quotes because looking at the video, it certainly appears there was little to no contact, and the referee flops.

Yes, the referee flopped. Take a look:

To be fair, Fabiano was already on a yellow, so getting in the referee’s face even without the headbutt/pelvic thrust would likely still have seen him sent to an early shower.

So the former Porto and Sevilla man was sent off, and Vasco da Gama was down to 10 men. Immediately after the red card, Flamengo took advantage, powering in a pair of goals via Willian Arao and Orlando Berrio to take the lead 2-1. But Vasco wouldn’t quit, and they earned a penalty five minutes into stoppage time, which Nene buried for the 2-2 draw.

To top things off, a player named Yago Pikachu scored the opener for Vasco da Gama, which was followed by a delay in the game seven minutes later after a power surge in the stadium. Go figure.

Lletget diagnosed with foot sprain, escaping further damage

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Word has arrived from the LA Galaxy camp that will see USMNT fans feel relieved as Sebastian Lletget has escaped the news many feared.

The young attacker was impressive in the first 18 minutes of the United States’ 6-0 win over Honduras, but was injured minutes after scoring the opening goal and could not continue. Replays showed that Lletget got his foot caught underneath a defender in the process of a hard challenge on the right wing.

There was concern that Lletget would be out for a significant amount of time, but the Galaxy announced that after testing over the weekend, Lletget did not suffer any structural damage and was diagnosed with a left foot sprain.

[ MORE: USMNT adds Paul Arreola to roster, drops Lletget, Brooks, Morris ]

Lletget will visit a specialist on Monday to determine a plan for recovery, and it’s possible that he will still have to miss some time in the near future. The Galaxy visit Vancouver on Saturday, and his status for that match has to be considered up in the air. They then host Montreal on April 7.

While Lletget obviously misses out on the next USMNT game at Panama on Tuesday having already been dumped from the roster, he will most definitely be available for the June games against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico, and will likely be an option for Bruce Arena given the manager’s history with Lletget at Los Angeles.

The United States have been struck with a collection of injuries that all occurred just before the international break, hampering the squad significantly. Bobby Wood, Jordan Morris, and Fabian Johnson all went down in the days before reporting for international duty, and the team lost Lletget and John Brooks in the Honduras win. Lletget’s departure could see Alejandro Bedoya into the starting lineup on Tuesday, with the Union midfielder having replaced Lletget in the Honduras match. Also in contention is Jermaine Jones, who could come in after his suspension and push Darlington Nagbe onto the wing.

Southgate can see Defoe in England squad long-term

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Gareth Southgate praised Jermain Defoe after his contributions to England’s 2-0 win over Lithuania on Sunday, but accidentally put a condition on his position in the squad.

The 34-year-old scored the opening goal and contributed heavily to the buildup of Jamie Vardy‘s score, and Southgate was happy that his decision to play an in-form striker paid off.

“If he scores like he is in the Premier League, there’s no reason why he wouldn’t be,” Southgate said. “We’re never able to pick a full cohort, so it’s important we can call upon the likes of Jermain and he can have the impact like he did today.

“I think we’ve got to look every time we get together as to who is in form. I don’t know if we can have a distinct pecking order because players who are playing well deserve the opportunity. If we are going to be successful, we have to have that competition for places. The reality is we will always lose players to injury.”

[ MORE: Defoe walks out Bradley Lowery before England game ]

A reporter asked him to clarify why he specified that Defoe should be scoring in the Premier League, and with his club Sunderland under heavy threat of relegation, Southgate admitted he let one slip.

“I walked into that,” Southgate said. “I guess the ideal world for all our players is they are playing regularly at a high level. The flip-side is we don’t have a huge pool of players to pick from.  We have to balance off a few different things. I can’t constrain myself on selection entirely, but I know ideally what I’d like to have. His performances and his goalscoring form this season have counted for him.”

Defoe has 14 goals in 28 Premier League appearances for Sunderland this season, but he’s proved the Black Cats’ only threat as they sit bottom of the league table with 20 points. Defoe has become the center of opposition game plans, and as a result he’s slowed down, with just two goals in his last seven games, and the club has little else to pick up the slack.

Still, at 34 years old, many wonder how much longer Defoe can contribute, and if he’ll be a viable option for next year’s World Cup.

Group F gets messy as Slovakia and Scotland grab wins

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England is in control at the top of Group F, but below them things are beginning to get complicated.

Despite the absence of Marek Hamsik due to a last-minute injury, Slovakia defeated Malta 3-1. They took the lead just 97 seconds in as Vladimir Weiss put the visitors in front with a beautiful curling strike from outside the box. Malta struck back through domestic striker Jean Paul Farrugia in the 14th minute, but that was all Malta could muster.

Slovakia would go ahead just before halftime as FC Copenhagen midfielder Jan Gregus put them in front in the 41st minute. The speculative shot from Gregus came from a great distance out, and as it skipped across the ground, it appeared Malta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg saw it late, as his dive was poor and it skipped off his hands and in.

Both teams ended with 10 men on the field, as Farrugia was sent off with 16 minutes to go for a second yellow, and Adam Nemec saw the same fate in injury time, but before he was sent off, Nemec was there to kill the game off in the 84th minute.

That put Slovakia up to nine points, and it moved them into second place thanks to late drama in Glasgow. Chris Martin gave Scotland all three points with an 88th minute strike as the home side won 1-0 over Slovenia, who dropped from second to third with the loss. The Fulham striker got a beautiful feed through the back line from Stuart Armstrong, and while his shot wasn’t terribly accurate, it was enough to win the game as Slovenia goalkeeper Matus Kozacik gave it a poor effort.

The win for Scotland pulls them above Lithuania and into fourth, a point back of Slovenia in third.