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Giggs: 'This can be the best United ever'

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by reddevilcanada, May 13, 2007.

  1. May 13, 2007
    #1

    reddevilcanada Full Member

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    United's favourite old son is revelling in a new central role - and is convinced Ferguson's latest creation could surpass previous generations

    By Steve Tongue, Football Correspondent
    Published: 13 May 2007

    Spring is in the air and in everyone's step around Old Trafford, most notably in that of the oldest of the old boys. Once Chelsea's new money took over from Arsenal's aristocrats, Sir Alex Ferguson and Ryan Giggs must privately have wondered whether their handsome medal collection was complete; but after today's home game with West Ham the Premiership trophy will be handed back to Manchester United, and on Saturday the chance exists to complete a fourth Double. Giggs, like Ferguson, appears to have been given a new lease of life by the emergence of this young United side and there is something touching about his obvious excitement at the prospect of walking out at Wembley again.

    Winning the Cup would be Giggs's 17th major honour, eclipsing Liverpool's Phil Neal as the English game's most decorated player, and at 33 he is entitled to adopt an air of having seen it all before. Instead, a boyish enthusiasm shines through, undiminished by life as an elder statesman and father of two in his £5 million Victorian pile: "For me personally it was great to play in Cardiff, but as far as I'm concerned the FA Cup final should be played at Wembley. It looks very good on the television and we're just excited to be back. It gave us an extra incentive, because you want to be at the first Cup final at Wembley, you don't want to miss out and be sat at home watching on TV thinking, 'We could be there'. That's where it belongs, and you want to be part of it."

    In Giggs's case it will be a seventh Cup final, the previous half-dozen having produced four wins and two defeats. And in the beginning, at Wembley 1994, there was Chelsea, albeit a very different outfit under Glenn Hoddle to the force United will face this week: "Winning the first one [4-0] was obviously a good memory, it was a Double-winning season, one of the few occasions it rained, which I was quite happy with because I didn't particularly like playing at Wembley.

    "It was sticky and dry and for someone who likes to dribble it was always tough, the grass was so lush. Actually I think Chelsea beat us twice in the League that season. They hit the crossbar and they were the better team in the first half, but then we got the first goal and deserved to win in the end. I hope it's 4-0 again but I don't think it will be! In '95 we got beat by Everton, which was disappointing, but one of the most memorable FA Cups was probably Liverpool the next year, beating our biggest rivals, great memories of that game."

    If neutrals were less enamoured by that desperately dour encounter, Giggs provided them with a genuinely iconic Cup moment en route to his next final in 1999. In a thrilling semi-final replay against Arsenal at Villa Park, he scored one of the great individual goals with that slalom through the defence, rounded off by a slashing shot and hairy-chested, shirt-waving celebration. Victory over Newcastle at Wembley completed another Double but Cardiff, while home from home, provided mixed memories, with a routine win over Millwall and an undeserved defeat on penalties after dominating Arsenal the following year.

    For a while he could not be sure of a starting place, and on one occasion was even jeered by United supporters when substituted against Blackburn. Yet the kids who threatened his place have now helped his rejuvenation and reinvention as a central midfielder. "Certain players give you a new lease of life," he says. "You get a buzz from watching them play, and in the last couple of days I've got a real buzz out of seeing the faces of the lads who've won their first championship.

    "I remember when I won my first championship, it's the best feeling in the world, and to get that buzz and see their faces, how they're so happy to have done it, that's definitely been a factor in enjoying my football a little bit more this season. Seeing the likes of Rooney, Ronaldo and the performances of Fletcher and Sheasy [O'Shea] gives you a lift, because there's real quality in the team and it's great to see."

    With Ronaldo and often Rooney out wide, Giggs and Paul Scholes have brought their experience to bear in a more central role that he feels could help prolong his career further; perhaps even beyond the contract that expires at the end of next season. He needs 46 more appearances to overhaul Sir Bobby Charlton's club record of 759 and Ferguson believes he can play for at least two more years.

    "I've enjoyed playing in a central role, you're involved a lot more than on the wing, where you're reliant on people giving you the ball. Even when I play on the wing I'm not playing like I did 10 years ago anyway. You use your experience and positional sense and just try to be clever. You aren't going to be as quick at 33 as you were at 17 but you are maybe a bit quicker in the brain and have that experience as well."

    As to Saturday's task, and in particular the contrast in the two teams' styles: "I've got to be careful what I say! We're a bit more cavalier whereas Chelsea are a bit more patient, European in a way, how they pack the midfield, try to get possession of the ball. They've got that defensive base and platform but also players who can go out and win games. We probably play a little bit differently, with wide men and players who can score from anywhere, that's the way United have always played."

    He is clearly proud to have been a part of that tradition ever since his 14th birthday, the day on which Ferguson arrived in person on his doorstep to secure a coveted signature. Now he goes as far as to say that the manager's latest creation could become his best: "Potentially this team can be the best definitely, because of the quality and age of the team. So many players are at the start of their career or are starting to hit their peak and we genuinely have world-class players. There's real quality in the squad, and depth. Obviously, you need things to go right for you injury-wise, but potentially this side can be consistently good over the next five or six years."

    He does acknowledge, however, that to be universally acclaimed as the best United side of modern times would necessitate securing another European crown at least: "It's always something you want to achieve. You always want to win the Premiership, then after that it's the Champions' League. You can't really prioritise, but this season the target was to win the Premiership, then the next step is the Champions' League. We deserved the Premiership this year, we played great football but have been consistent and had that bit of steel as well. Now can we go on and win it again? I'm sure we can, because we've got the ability and the hunger."

    Although Giggs is not big on personal milestones, a 10th championship would assuredly have a certain ring - as well as almost certainly never being beaten. In the meantime, he has regained a place in both the team and supporters' hearts that was briefly - and inexplicably - lost.

    The Record-Breaker: The public life of Private Ryan

    Long-Service Awards


    In addition to his record haul of nine League titles, eclipsing the eight won by Alan Hansen and Phil Neal, Giggs holds the record for trophies won by a player; he has earned four FA Cup and two League Cup medals and a Champions' League medal to sit alongside those League souvenirs, plus has finished runner-up in the Premiership four times, the FA Cup twice and League Cup twice.

    Brothers United In Triumph

    Ryan isn't the only Giggs to play on the wing for United and win a title this season; his younger brother Rhodri turns out on the right (and sometimes as a striker) for FC United of Man-chester, the club set up by fans opposed to the Glazers' takeover at Old Trafford. This season they are First Division champions of the North West Counties League, having won the Second Division last year.

    Major Disappointment

    Giggs won his 62nd cap for Wales in the 3-0 win against San Marino in March, but has yet to play in a major championship. The enduring myth that he could have elected to play for England stems from his appearances for England Schoolboys, but that was open to anyone being educated in the country. Giggs was born in Wales to Welsh parents (though his father, the rugby league player Danny Wilson, was originally from Sierra Leone) and would not have qualified to play for England.

    Fistful Of Firsts

    Giggs was the first to win the PFA Young Player of the Year Award twice (1992-93), a feat since emulated by Robbie Fowler and Wayne Rooney. He is the scorer of United's fastest goal, after 15 seconds against Southampton in November 1995, is the first player in Champions' League history to score in 12 successive seasons, and is one of only two players (the other is Gary Speed) to score in every Premiership season.

    Classic Remark From Homer

    Giggs is the only Premiership player to be mentioned in The Simpsons, in November 2003 when Homer, visiting England, says to Marge: "Can you believe they gave Giggs a yellow card?"

    Simon Redfern
  2. May 13, 2007
    #2

    VoetbalWizard Banned

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    at the altar of ryan giggs
    BEST ever. you old cnuts can have law, charlton, bestie, et al.....give me giggsy any day. There will never be another giggs.

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