Updated: Saturday, 18th November 2017 @ 8:06am

Tuesday Team Talk: Being the ultimate professional will be Ryan Giggs' legacy, not super-injunctions

Tuesday Team Talk: Being the ultimate professional will be Ryan Giggs' legacy, not super-injunctions

By Glen Keogh

There was once a time when Ryan Giggs was Manchester United’s hairy-chested wonder-kid, reeling away after yet another goal scored with that deft left foot.

He was the Welsh wing wizard, known for blistering pace and youthful good looks – the rock‘n’roll star of Manchester United’s early 90’s conveyor belt of youth talent.

Now, 21 seasons later, and the only player with a goal in every single one of those, Giggs is as popular as he has ever been but with a history more chequered than most.

United’s weekend victory against Everton in which the Welsh veteran bagged a rare right-footed goal should make it a routine cruise to the Premier League title – theirs, and Giggs’ 12th.

His performances this season prompted boss Sir Alex Ferguson to label him ‘a fantastic human being’, with ‘fantastic energy’.

Despite claiming in his press conference he didn’t have much more to say about Giggs’ talent, he still managed to remark on how the Welshman’s ‘legacy will live on’.

And it was only last week that fellow United wonderkid turned global superstar David Beckham told the world’s media following his surprise move to Paris St Germain that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of players like Giggs.

Though with more of a bit-part role these days, the 39-year-old still contributes when he makes it on to the pitch, and his star performance against Everton, the team he made his debut against in 1991, is testament to his influence.

It’s not just age and club history that Beckham and Giggs now have in common.

Both started their careers as wingers, but as the years have advanced their playing positions have deepened, and they now tend to create from the centre using what pundits call experience’ or ‘intuition’.

Others would like to attribute these new roles to what we call ‘a lack of pace’ or ‘being old.

But despite United’s following thinking each of the last few seasons would be Giggs’ last, he’s continued to play and continued to inspire legions of United youngsters – players and fans alike.

Are the praises sung for the former Welsh captain still due to a phenomenal on-field influence or is it down to sheer surprise that he is still getting a game at United despite the fact he was playing league football before some of his team-mates were even born?

Giggs doesn’t even seem to show any signs of slowing down and since his move into the centre of United’s midfield he has continued to create and contribute, and, more importantly, score goals.

Fellow old-timer Paul Scholes made the mistake of hanging up his boots early, only to return to United’s first-team in a move akin to the Rolling Stones reunion gigs but when Giggs does decide to call it a day we know it will be permanent.

It doesn’t seem to look like he’s going anywhere in the very near future, and why would he?

On the face of it, he’s the height of professionalism.

Giggs is a one-club man – his trophy cabinet is packed to bursting point – and his manager adores him.

He’s a fantastic trainer and influence on the younger players and, now into his 40th year, is still a top-class player.

But for all the personal, domestic and European honours the 39-year-old has picked up in his illustrious career, the now-greying Giggsy nearly was, or according to some people, should still be, remembered for different reasons.

It was only last year, I’m sure you recall, that Giggs was named as the footballer behind the legal order preventing the publication of details of an affair.

He was named and shamed – and then named and shamed again when news of an affair with his brother’s wife was published.

For most of us, these would be life-defining moments similar to a prison sentence or outing as a Justin Bieber fan.

Luckily for Giggs, the fans, and more importantly his wife, seem to have forgiven him.

While the likes of Paul Gascoigne tragically nose-dived towards the end of their careers, Giggs has maintained his professionalism throughout.

In the wake of what could have been an unforgiveable scandal, he’s seemingly done the impossible and been forgiven and it all seems to be for the fact that for the last 22 years Giggs has been at the very top of his field.

As Ferguson points out, ‘his legacy will live on’ and while the veteran has divided opinion throughout his career it’s certain that it will.

And, with talks of a contract extension already in the pipeline, it looks like he will be remembered for all the right reasons.

Image courtesy of Sky Sports, via YouTube, with thanks.

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