Exclusive Interview With... Ryan Giggs

With no international duties to divert him, the United midfielder will be well and truly ready to face West Brom at the weekend...

West Brom are only a point behind United in the league and they’re difficult to beat. But do you think they have the qualities to stay up?

I’ve been impressed with West Brom and Hull. Both teams have good young managers in Tony Mowbray and Phil Brown. It’s very difficult for teams coming up from the Championship and trying to make it in the Premier League. But they got off to a good start and you have to respect that. We expect a tough game on Saturday. They won’t have had as many players away on the international break, so they will have been working all week to prepare for this game. We only start training as a group on Friday, so we know we have to be ready for them.

Do the international breaks help or hinder those players who don’t go away. Is the rest welcome or do you get rusty?

I think that maybe used to be a problem. But now we have our sports science department and the fitness coach Tony Strudwick who makes sure we do our work in the break. We work hard. That’s what I’ve felt over the last couple of international breaks, definitely. I’ve felt good coming back. It might be difficult coming back in for the first game. It takes a bit of time to be fully sharp, but after that the rest definitely does you good and you feel sharper for the coming games.

So the international break isn’t time for you and Scholesy to put your feet up or lie on the sunbeds?

[Laughs]. No, but the players not on international duty do get some time off. I went away for a couple of days in the last international break, but I stayed in Manchester for this one. But when you’re back in training you’re working hard in the week to keep yourself sharp.

You’ve been doing your coaching badges in recent seasons. Has that helped your game at all?

It’s more that it helps me understand what we’re doing in training and what we’re trying to achieve. You understand that much quicker. When you’re a player it’s easy to turn up and train without actually thinking about what you’re trying to achieve. Doing my coaching badges has helped me realise those aims.

With no more international weekends this year, is the focus now on a solid run of results at club level?

Definitely. Once this international break is out of the way, you get the squad together for a long period of time and that’s a really important period of the season for us. That’s when we look to push on because, come Christmas, you want to be right up there. That gives you the platform for the New Year.

  • Related keywords: Ryan Giggs