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Pallister hails Giggs longevity

Gary Pallister says Ryan Giggs will continue to rip up the record books and could carry on playing for Manchester United well into his forties.

Gary Pallister says Ryan Giggs will continue to rip up the record books and could carry on playing for Manchester United well into his forties.

The former Red Devils defender believes the one-year deal announced on Friday – which will take Giggs beyond his 40th birthday in November – might not be the last one he signs for the club.

Giggs looks set to celebrate his new contract by chalking up his 1000th competitive appearance for club and country against Norwich City at Old Trafford on Saturday.

In a record-breaking career, he has accumulated 12 Premier League titles, and won four FA Cups, three League Cups and two Champions League titles.

Pallister told Goal.com: “Giggsy is the modern-day equivalent of Stanley Matthews, who played in the top-flight until he was 50 years old. I’m not saying that Giggsy will still be playing at that age, but he has spent his whole career defying logic.

“People might assume that this new one-year extension will be his last, but I’m not so sure. He remains in great physical shape and still has a huge hunger to play.

“Of course, he has been fortunate that he’s not had any major operations and the injuries he has picked up have tended to be muscle-related, such as hamstrings, but he has made the most of that good fortune.

“I was sitting next to Bryan Robson recently and after a United attack was broken up, Giggsy sprinted back to cover his own left-back. Bryan and I looked at each other and shook our heads in disbelief.

“Advancement in sports science means that players are playing longer these days, but I don’t think we will see anyone (else) getting close to 1000 games for United in my lifetime.”

Pallister believes Giggs has benefited from lessons learned by United over their handling of George Best in the 1960s and ’70s.

A generation on, Giggs was the Best of his day, but there was no chance that he would succumb to the lifestyle distractions that ultimately curtailed the career of the wayward Irish genius.

Pallister continued: “I know that Alex Ferguson had some chats with Sir Matt Busby about George Best and received some good advice on avoiding the same pitfalls.

“Although I don’t think it ever reached the stage where George spoke directly to Giggsy on the subject, Giggsy was protected in a way that few footballers had been previously.

“That said, Giggsy never showed any sign he would be tempted to go off the rails. He has tremendous discipline and mental strength, and a hunger and desire to keep performing at the top level.”

Sat 2 March, 2013
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