Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson believes Ryan Giggs was a better player than fellow Welshman Gareth Bale at the age of 23.
Giggs, now 39, has made a club record 926 appearances for United since his debut in 1990 and is remarkably expected to play on next season.
Bale, who turns 24 this year, has attracted interest from the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid after establishing himself as one of the most exciting talents in the English Premier League for Tottenham Hotspur.
“I think the boy (Bale) is a good player, yes,” Ferguson said.
“But Ryan Giggs at 23, I don’t think there was anyone better.”
United will travel to Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday as Ferguson’s men look to extend their advantage on top of the table.
Ferguson praised the performance of Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas since his arrival at White Hart Lane in July.
“I think they’ve done well this season,” Ferguson said.
“I’ve watched quite a few of their games and I think their form has been quite consistent.
“I think they will be challenging for the top four, I don’t think there’s any doubt that.
“I think Villas-Boas has got them the way he wants. He’s now been there a few months and there’s signs that there playing the way he wants them to play.”
Ferguson also admitted that he is unhappy with United’s penalty-taking this season.
“I haven’t made a decision about that (whether Wayne Rooney will continue to take penalties).
“It’s not something I want to discuss to be honest with you. We’re missing penalties and they are a big opportunity (to score).”