Someone must be spiking their Ovaltine!
“People may say Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville are finished, that they’ve had their day – but that is a pretty dangerous assumption,” said Ferguson.
“Giggs has been out of this world in pre-season. I don’t know how he does it. At 36 years of age he still has so much energy, and an incredible change of pace to go past defenders. The only thing he does differently now to when he started is yoga, and maybe that has made a difference. But some people are born that way. They seem capable of going on forever.”
And, as a warning to his young players that the pressure is on and they must deliver, Ferguson said: “Giggs still has that same desire to win things, but it’s something you must have at Manchester United. You have to be able to fulfil the expectation of winning all the time – the only alternative is the exit.”
In Scholes, not quite in the Giggs age bracket, but a veteran at 34, Ferguson feel he still has a player who will make United tick.
“People are also saying this is the last year for Scholes,” he said. “But he missed a lot of football last season [because of injury] and rushed himself back. As a result he wasn’t the same player. But he has been great in pre-season and there’s a lot of football left in him.
“Gary Neville also suffered with injuries and I’m afraid that’s the way it’s going to be with him from now on. He’s likely to get a lot of minor niggles, because his muscle arrangement is more tense than the other two. If I can get 25 games out of him I’ll be very happy.” (Daily Express)
Good to that Sir Alex still values his old guard but in all honest of the three only Ryan Giggs seems to be able to claim a starting spot on merit. As a lifelong Man United fan (who lives in Manchester and has a season ticket, before you ask) I have marveled at the displays given by the trio over the best part of two decades but Ferguson will not allow sentiment to get in the way of team selection and whilst both Scholes and Neville can well play a part in what will hopefully be a long grueling and therefore successful season, they are also on their last legs.
Right back Neville has been sidelined for what seems like an age and recovering from long term injury is hard at the best of times, just ask Owen Hargreaves, when you are 30+ it’s nigh on impossible. Scholesy (imaginative use of nickname extension) may still manage an hour perhaps more, in top flight games and a lot of his game was build on always being in the right place at the right time so it’s as much about his footballing brain improving as his legs get older (obviously not older than the rest of this body as that would be crazy talk). Expect his tackling to get worse though, but then it was never his strongest point.
Ryan Giggs is the miracle of the bunch. Older than the English pair, the ‘Welsh Wizard’ managed to take part in 46 matches last term, which is pretty astonishing for a player of 35. His role has changed over the past two or three seasons, not so much the fleet footed speedy wing merchant, he has cut down on the mazy runs and opted for more intelligent use of the ball, but as displayed at Upton Park last season he can still turn a defender or three before applying the finishing touch.