UK & Ireland Football

Ryan Giggs: The ultimate team man but not the greatest

Football Food For Thought RSS / / 27 February 2011 / 7 Comments

Free Bet
He may be a little greyer and a yard slower but Giggs is still absolute class

He may be a little greyer and a yard slower but Giggs is still absolute class

"His contribution to Manchester United is obvious and overwhelming in equal amounts. Originally an out-and-out lightning quick winger winger, he has since learnt to adapt to an offensive playmaking role within the side, blending skill, movement and experience with football intelligence."

Ryan Giggs has been around longer than the Premier League and won just about every club honour up for grabs. But where does he rank alongside the greatest United legends and where was the one area he let others down, asks Paul Moon.

Ryan Joseph Giggs OBE (born 29 November 1973) is the most decorated player in English football history and a credit to the game. His incredible haul of 32 winners' medals include 11 Premier League wins and two Champions League titles, quite remarkable achievements. But where does he rank in the Manchester United hall of fame?

On the January 31 2011 he was named Manchester United's greatest ever player by a worldwide poll conducted by United's official magazine and website. Without wishing to sound churlish or attempting to devalue his marvellous achievements, the award sits somewhere between the sentimental and frivolous, as was his BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2009 by the way.

The reality is that the winner of the 'greatest player ever' category must surely rest between Sir Bobby Charlton, Eric Cantona, George Best and Denis Law. And that's without nominating Cristiano Ronaldo or Bryan Robson. That said, Giggs is the best 'clubman' United has ever had and some distance ahead of Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Roy Keane.

His contribution to Manchester United is obvious and overwhelming in equal amounts. Originally an out-and-out lightning quick winger winger, he has since learnt to adapt to an offensive playmaking role within the side, blending skill, movement and experience with football intelligence. His final ball has improved year on year and he has that unique ability to affect games and make a difference. One has also to pay homage the remarkable levels of fitness he still shows; let's not forget he's closer to his 40th birthday than his 30th.

The way he conducts himself on and off the pitch is similarly impeccable and in 20-years of playing football for his club he has never been sent off. In the days of over-zealous refereeing, that's no mean achievement.

It will surprise some that he actually signed on for archrivals Manchester City as a youth in 1985-87 but since then has spent his entire senior career at Manchester United where he holds the club record for competitive appearances and the club record for team trophies won by a player. Devout loyalty to a club is commendable and should be applauded but is it possible he would have become an even better player had he transferred abroad?

He is a player who clearly looks after himself but paradoxically this approach has produced the one stain on his career to date! It is something of a disappointment that he has not always shown the necessary resolve to play regularly for his country. Since 1990 he has too often missed international commitments through alleged injuries, only to somehow recover in time for his next club fixture. In his long career he has averaged just three games per year, playing a total of 64 games for Wales. Of course Wales have never been involved in a major tournament during that period but still; he's missed far too many games.

I'm sure one day he will manage Wales and inherit a similar set of circumstances. I'm sure he'll find that just as frustrating as the likes of John Toshack and Mark Hughes did as regards him.

The pace has gone a little and those marauding runs down the wing are few and far between these days but his influence within this youngish United side is there for all to see. United may yet win the league title, the FA Cup and the Champions League, just like they did back in 1999. No-one would begrudge Giggs a second treble of that nature...

Read More UK & Ireland Football

Do great players make great managers?

We can all list the great modern-day managers who were brilliant players but for each of those there's a top gaffer who was an ordinary player or who never played the game at all. Paul Moon looks at those who...

Welsh football to remain in freefall

Wales-based Paul Moon tells us why the future of Welsh football is bleak and not even the promotion of Cardiff or Swansea to the Premier League can save it....

Tottenham Hotspur: Who's the best partnership up front?

Few teams in the Premier League have experimented with more partnerships up front than Tottenham Hotspur this season. But which one has yielded the most goals and win ratio, asks Micahel Cox....

Comments (7)

  1. jig | 28 February 2011

    you know nothing about football, giggs is the best player to play for man utd. stats dont lie my friend

  2. D Turner | 28 February 2011

    A well constructed article and although I'm not a Man Utd fan, I am a football fan and Ryan Giggs has been a credit to his profession. He has scored some wonderful goals over the years too and I'm pretty sure he's never been sent off either. A few of todays highly paid professionals should take a leaf out of his book.

  3. Dickie Best | 28 February 2011

    Giggs has been a role model and true profeesional but cannot be compared with the great Georgie Best .

    although he had a comparatively short career he was magic on the ball and fans were always contemplating something spectacular about to happen, he rarely let them down .

    dont forget he played in a struggling United side along with greats like Charlton and Law .

    Best is Best .

  4. rave | 28 February 2011

    i think you got that spot on my friend.in his day he has to be the best left winger our football as seen and like you said was he as good as some of the old greats may be or may be not but could you imagin if he did play with best and law an co he would of bin one of those legends like best and law.as for him playin for his country.its not the same any more there clubs have got so much influence over the national game. but saying that i wouldn,t of minded him playing for england

  5. Paul | 01 March 2011

    Not quite sure what stats you refer to Jig but surely Ryan Giggs was not a better player for United than Georgie Best? The piece clearly illustrates his professionalism and contribution for United and nobody would question that, his value has been immense! Incidentally Giggs has been sent off once - for Wales...

  6. Rapper D | 01 March 2011

    Agree with every single word. I'm not a United fan, but you really have to take your hat off to Giggs. His evolution over the years has been tremendous. This season his experience and eye for a pass has helped his team to probably another title. On the other hand, he really has let his country down on numerous occasions, pretending to have injuries then turning out for United on the weekend. In fairness him doing that has probably lengthened his carreer, but surely he had an obligation to play for your country.

    Jig, what stats are you talking about? Giggs the best? maybe top 10. George Best? The waster? Did he ever play against Ashley cole or evra? No. He played against slow average defenders, not the athletes of today. How can he be the best?

  7. dale | 06 March 2011

    george best fantastic player, compare ryan giggs to george well one stood the test of time!!!!!!!!!and still playing top level football,

Post a comment

Free £20 Bet + Up to £1,000 Cashback

Join Today
How to claim your £20 Free Bet + £1,000 Cashback offer
  1. Open your account (3 mins)
  2. Make a deposit into your account and place a bet on your selection (minimum £20)
  3. Should your selection lose we'll refund your bet + get cashback on your betting for your first 30 days up to £1,000
  4.   £20 Free Bet + £1,000 Cashback, Join Today

Writers' Tips

Follow our daily tipsters

Sorry there are no tips today - Please come back later.

Get a $50-$2500 Poker Bonus

Play Now

Choose and earn a $50, $250, $500, $1000 or $2500 poker sign up bonus. Turn Loyalty Into Cash and earn up to 40% Valueback in the Players Club.

Join Betfair Poker Now.

£200 Casino Bonus

Play Now

100% deposit bonus up to £100 for all new casino players. Just join and play to claim.

Join Today. Click here to claim your £200 Casino Bonus

© Betfair 2007–12 | Contact Betting.Betfair team on: haveyoursay@betfair.com

Proud to back    

Betfair UK | Australia | Online sázení | Betfair Danmark | Wetten | στοιχήματα | Apuestas | Fogadas | Ireland | Scommesse | Norge | Онлайн ставки | Kladjenje | Vedonlyönti | Apostas | Zakłady | Vadhållning | 网上投注 | Betfair Corporate | Betting Education