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How long can Ryan Giggs go? The legend turns 40 years old this Friday

Nov 26, 2013, 7:40 AM EDT

Ryan Giggs, Markel Bergara AP

If Ryan Giggs manages to play in 46 more matches for Manchester United that will take his total appearances to 1,000.

It’s an incredible haul that the Welshman, set to turn 40 years of age this Friday, isn’t ruling out.

He explained to Sky Sports News: “I honestly don’t know. It’s not something I can say that I’ve thought seriously about.

“If it comes great, if it doesn’t I’m not going to grumble, but we’ll see. If I’m playing well and enjoying it then I’ll carry on.”

Perspective. Practicality. Honesty. Quintessential Giggs.

Following Giggs’ graduation from United’s FA Youth Cup winning side in 1992, he began first team play with the likes of Steve Bruce and Bryan Robson. Now that he has reached – and surpassed – their career spans he shakes his head at where time has gone.

“When I was in the first team, you’re looking at Brucey and Robbo who were 33, 34, and you were thinking that is ancient, so I don’t know what the young players are thinking of me,” Giggs said.

“They’re all saying ‘it’s your birthday this week’ and I’m going ‘yeah, yeah it’s a big one I’m 35′. They’re looking at me, and then obviously they get the truth out that I’m 40 and they’re sort of shaking their head and I’m thinking yeah it’s old.”

The issue now becomes, how long can Giggs last and still be effective?

Anyone who watched United in the 2-2 draw with Cardiff saw the impact the midfielder made late in the match when his pinpoint 40 yard ball set Wayne Rooney free, only for the striker to scoff the final pass to Danny Welbeck, who would surely have scored.

For Giggs’ former teammate, Gary Neville, he thinks Giggs could make it to 41 years old on the pitch.

“He’s a fantastic human being and I can see him playing until he’s 41 because he looks after himself so much. He’s got to keep going and producing the levels that he’s doing, but if anyone can do it then Ryan Giggs can, he’s smashed every record that’s been put in front of him.”

The oldest outfield players to ever play in the Premier League are Gordon Strachan and Giggs’ former Red Devils team-mate Teddy Sheringham, both of whom played through age 40. This weekend, Giggs will join that exclusive company. And few doubt that around this time next year, we’ll all be singing the Welshman’s praises for surpassing it.

“He’s got to go down as probably one of the greatest players that’s ever played in the Premiership,” said Neville.

No arguments here.

  1. dfstell - Nov 26, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    He really is amazing. What I enjoy about him is how he’s reinvented himself to prolong his career. His game used to be about speed and he REALLY doesn’t have much speed anymore. There have been a few times in the last year where he had a breakaway and got run down by a lumbering centerback. So, he’s now this winger who hits these deadly 35 yard balls over the top and early crosses. His set piece delivery is as good as Beckham’s now. And, when he is on the field, he can take the set pieces so that Rooney can go forward since Rooney is more of a threat to score than Giggs.

    Also impressive is how he’s accepted a reduced role. Lots of former stars would have complained and gotten sold to some lower division club. He just picks his spots, plays a few minutes at the end of games, makes an impact, sets a good on-field example for the young kids, etc.

    I wish he would teach Rooney about diet.

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