Sometimes longevity is overrated. Just because a player gets to hang around for so long it doesn’t mean he’s been great. It just means he’s useful, or something of the sort, right? Ryan Giggs is the exception. Not just because of all he has achieved during his career with Manchester United, but also by doing it still today, with some players who weren’t even born when he started playing.
This season alone there are two players on the Manchester United squad who weren’t even born when Giggs made his debut for United, back when the top flight was still division 1, on March 3, 1991. Since then he’s playing in 652 league matches for United and 931 in all competitions. Maybe he’s still hanging around just to reach 1000, which is possible if he hangs around for two more seasons. He might not be the fast winger of old, or even a reliable man in the middle without a certain amount of rest, but when used the right way, and Alex Ferguson usually knows what that is, he’s more than a legitimate player, even at 39.
Phil Jones has just turned 21, already in his fourth season of Premier League football; he wasn’t even alive when Ryan Giggs began his illustrious career, which includes 12 Premier League titles, four FA Cups and 2 Champions League trophies. Nick Powell, playing this season for the first time in the top-flight (only two matches up until now) will be turning 19 in a month. Ryan Giggs was on his way to win his second league title when he was born.
A man that has gone beyond his time, by miles. The only player that’s still close to Giggs on the United squad in terms of being through the same things is Paul Scholes, who was 16 and four months old during Giggs’ debut, a few years away from his own first performance for the Red Devils.
Maybe it’ll come together – Giggs and Ferguson retiring, something that seems just around the corner and then, might take more than a couple of years for us to see. When they’re both still so successful and maybe more important, so hungry for success, why should they leave?