Peter Schmeichel: Ryan Giggs is a Premier League great
Ryan Giggs has been described as the most influential player of the Premier League era by former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel.
Giggs announced his retirement from professional football on Monday after 24 seasons as a United player where he won 34 trophies and racked up 963 appearances.
The 40-year-old also holds the record for the highest number of Premier League assists (162), and his former team-mate Schmeichel insists the Welshman must be considered as one of the game's modern day greats.
"For me Ryan is Mr Premier League," Schmeichel told Sky Sports. "I don't think anyone has had the influence on the Premier League that he has had.
"If ever you could use the word 'legend' then he is a true Manchester United legend. I mean you only have to look at his trophy cabinet.
"He hasn't got that trophy cabinet by sitting on the bench or piggy backing on somebody else's success. He's been out there at the forefront and creating it.
"Not only has he been a good player but he's been a consistent player and a consistent performer for 22 years, doing it time and time again.
"The way he's conducted himself as a footballer and as a professional makes him a fantastic role model."
Giggs will be Louis van Gaal's assistant when the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona manager takes over at Old Trafford next season.
And Schmeichel, who was speaking at Kick It Out's 20th anniversary dinner, believes the chance to work alongside and learn from the Dutchman will stand Giggs in good stead for further opportunities in his career.
"I have to praise van Gaal for choosing Ryan and not bringing in his own number two," Schmeicel said. "It could have been a number of people he's worked with but to bring in Ryan shows his importance and I'm really looking forward to it now.
"It's also very important for the fans. It would have been sad to see Ryan leave Manchester United and retire because there wasn't a place for him due to a new manager coming in.
"It's an amazing opportunity and I'm really, really pleased for him but we must remember, although he has a job to do for the club, he is only just learning.
"To work with someone like van Gaal having worked with Sir Alex Ferguson for so many years gives him another perspective.
"Of course he was close to David Moyes last year so he can add that to the pool of knowledge that he has but this is going to be very valuable to him in the future."