Ryan Giggs is better than ever - Sir Bobby Charlton

Ryan Giggs is playing the best football of his 20-year stint in Manchester United's first team, according to Old Trafford legend Sir Bobby Charlton.

The 37-year-old Giggs, who this month broke Charlton's record of 606 league appearances for United, signed a one-year contract extension in February.

He has now played a total of 867 games for the club, winning 11 league titles.

"Last year, I thought that was the best he had ever played but this year he's been even better," said Charlton.

"I don't know what he's putting in his tea but he's been at his peak again this season.

"He's a great, great professional footballer and I'm ever so proud of him for what he's done, what he's still doing and what hopefully he'll continue to do.

I saw him when he was 15 and he first came to the club - since that time he's not been anything other than good news
Sir Bobby Charlton on Ryan Giggs

"He's got a gift and he's a credit to the game."

The Cardiff-born midfielder was 17 when he made his league debut as a substitute against Everton on 2 March, 1991. His first start and goal came two months later, when United beat Manchester City 1-0.

It was during the next season that Giggs emerged as a first-team regular. He would finish the campaign with a League Cup winner's medal and the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

Subsequent seasons have seen him accumulate more silverware than any player in English football history and only two months ago he was named United's greatest player in a poll conducted by the club's official magazine and website.

Having started as an old-fashioned winger, he has adapted his game to play a more withdrawn role in Sir Alex Ferguson's midfield. His importance to the team, however, has not changed, a fact recognised by last month's new deal.

When asked for the secret to his longevity as a player, Giggs has talked about his yoga regime and the decision he took in 2007 to retire from international football, finishing his Wales career with 64 caps.

Pleas for him to reconsider have been a constant theme during the last four years and, if anything, have intensified ahead of England's visit to Cardiff on Saturday.

But Giggs has resisted the temptation to face England - the country he played for as a schoolboy - although he offered to help new Wales manager Gary Speed in the build-up to the European qualifier.

This has led to speculation about what he will do when his playing days are over (and Giggs has made no secret of the fact he is currently taking coaching courses), but there is no doubt about his short-term goals: United's pursuit of a Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble.

"I hope we can finish it off for Ryan," said Charlton, who scored 199 league goals for United between 1956 and 1973.

"I saw him when he was 15 and he first came to the club. Since that time he's not been anything other than good news.

"He's just fantastic to work with as a player, (Ferguson) has told me this many times. He's unique."

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