Ryan Giggs reaches 40 and still going strong

Written by Reuters | London | Updated: Nov 30 2013, 21:22pm hrs
Ryan Giggs was the first graduate of the so-called 'Class of '92' to make his mark at Manchester United and on the day he turns 40 he is preparing for the weekend the same way he has for most of his life.

The mercurial Welshman has out-lasted David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Gary and Phil Neville, who came off the same United academy conveyor belt, and it is not beyond credibility that he could rack up 1,000 games for the club.

United record appearance maker was one of United best players in United's 5-0 hammering of Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday, his 953rd match for the club, and he will be in the squad for Sunday's trip to Tottenham Hotspur, the club against whom he has scored more goals than any other.

With 13 Premier league titles, four FA Cups, two Champions Leagues, four League Cups and, surprisingly only one PFA Player of the Year award, Giggs has achieved everything possible in his club career, but still appears hungry for more.

"I'm enjoying my football and that's the main thing," Giggs, who actually made his United debut in 1991, and who Beckham says inspired the rest of the group, told the Daily Telegraph.

"You've got to work hard during the week, put in performances in training and hopefully you get picked.

"And, when you get picked, it is just like when you are younger really, you have to take your chance."

Having spent the first half of his career rampaging up the left wing like a pedigree racehorse, Giggs has evolved into the complete midfield player and with United lacking in the creativity department, still offers the kind of guile and intelligence that money cannot buy.

Giggs was magnificent against Leverkusen and team mate Wayne Rooney could not praise him highly enough.

"Their centre half was asking how is he still playing at that age," Rooney said.

"His composure on the ball is fantastic. Ryan has done it for years and I've run out of things to say about him.

"I don't know how he is still doing it."

Beckham, 38, who has been busy promoting the 'Class of '92' film that will be hitting the big screen in December and will chronicle the rise of United's golden generation, said Giggs "makes him feel old".

"I'm not surprised he's still playing because of the talent he is and how driven he still is and how he's looked after himself over the years really is incredible," Beckham, who ended his career last season, said in an interview on the BBC.

"His performance the other night in the Champions League was amazing but it doesn't surprise me. It's an incredible achievement. I'm proud of what he's achieved."