Giggs beats team-mates to player of the year award

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Ryan Giggs last night won the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year award for the first time in his 18-year career. The Manchester United winger saw off the challenge of team-mates Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Edwin van der Sar and Liverpool's Steven Gerrard to add the honour to the Young Player of the Year award which he picked up in 1992 and 1993. "It's arguably the best one to win, to be voted by your fellow players," said the 35-year-old.

"I've been fortunate to win a lot of trophies in my career. I won the young players' award but this is the big one," added Giggs who has benefited from Sir Alex Ferguson's rotation policy by prolonging his career at the highest level. Giggs went on to pay tribute to the Scot and is clearly relishing the battle with Liverpool for the title. "It's an exciting season, things could go right to the wire," he added.

"It's big game after big game. That's what you want and need at a club like United. A lot of credit must go to the manager. He's been massive in my career, I first met him at 13 years old. He knows me better than anyone and our relationship has been brilliant, it keeps getting better. There's a big thank you to the manager who has supported me and improved my game. I don't think about what would have happened if I hadn't gone to Manchester United. I've been so fortunate to have such a good career and play with so many great players."

Giggs has made a telling contribution for United this season, the high point being his beautifully crafted winnner against West Ham in February when he sold dummies to two defenders before rifling the ball home.

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