Sir Alex Ferguson hails Ryan Giggs
SIR ALEX Ferguson admits he has almost run out of praise for the ‘Peter Pan’ of the Premier League.
It’s not often he is lost for words, but even the United boss is struggling to comprehend the remarkable achievements of Ryan Giggs.
Giggs, who will be 40 in November, has penned a new deal at United on the eve of the 1000th senior appearance of a career that defies belief.
Ferguson once described Giggs as a “freak” and he is right when you consider the remarkable achievements of the most decorated player this country has ever seen.
Giggs, who made his United debut while the Gulf War was on and before team-mate Phil Jones was born, has won 12 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, two Champions Leagues, one Super Cup, an Intercontinental Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup.
He has scored in every Premier League season, lifted 25 major honours and appeared a club-record 931 times for United.
The rest of his senior appearances are made up of 64 for Wales and four for Great Britain at the London Olympics last summer.
He took up yoga more than a decade ago to improve his fitness and prolong his career, but even the man himself had no idea he would last this long at the top.
Fergie admits he has almost run out of superlatives for Giggs, who will be included in United’s squad to face Norwich at Old Trafford today as he completes another milestone.
Giggs was on the books of Manchester City before Fergie and former coach Archie Knox lured him to United following a string of visits to his family home.
The Blues’ loss has been United’s gain and Ferguson is convinced Giggs is a one-off, someone who has set records and standards that will never be matched.
He said: “What can I say about Ryan that hasn’t already been said? Ryan is an example to us all, the way in which he has, and continues to, look after himself. He has fantastic energy for the game and it is wonderful to see.
“Ryan seems to reach a new milestone every week and to think that he now has 23 unbroken years of league goals behind him is truly amazing in the modern-day game.
“His form this year shows his ability and his enjoyment of the game are as strong as ever and I am absolutely delighted that he has signed a new contract.
“Somewhere along the line he will make his 1000th game, which is phenomenal.
“In the modern game it is unique, but I think it is more than that. I don’t think it will be achieved again by anyone, given the way that players’ contracts are played out these days
“We are very fortunate. Well done to Ryan. He deserved another contract because his form has never changed.
“He still has that youthfulness in the way he plays, great balance and still has a change of pace, still has fitness and gets you a goal, so he really deserves a new contract.
“Next season he will do exactly what he has done this season – he will come on and will play in games and be star man.
“I think twice he has been player of the match this year. His performance level is incredible. It is just amazing.”
Giggs has set records likely never be broken and former team-mate David Beckham, still going strong at 37, joined the tributes.
The former England captain, who joined Paris St Germain on a short-term deal last month, said: “The majority of the Manchester United players who started in the mid 1990s – Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and I – are still on the pitch.
“I think it is because Sir Alex Ferguson showed us the way when we were teenagers.
“He taught us to respect the game, to respect our body and to love what we do.
“For now, Ryan Giggs is the one who has been furthest (in his career). He continues to play at the highest level and he does not seem to want to stop. It’s remarkable.”
Giggs is destined for a coaching role at United when he retires and Fergie added: “That will happen, that is the plan.
“We have done the same with Nicky Butt at the moment, who is with the reserves. Paul Scholes was last year and when he finishes he will do exactly the same.
“We are good with that, by keeping former players installed in the club in different capacities.
“He has to take his coaching badges, should go to the business school in Warwick, he should spend time with the youth and academy and then prepare to be a manager in that way.
“This club can do that. An exceptional person can do that.”