Charlton eager to lose record to Giggs

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The Independent Football

Sir Bobby Charlton cannot wait for the opportunity to acclaim Ryan Giggs for breaking his Manchester United appearance record.

Charlton played 759 times for United during his 20 years at Old Trafford, an astounding figure which many people, including the man himself, thought would never be broken.

Now, it appears just a matter of time before the record is broken as Giggs closes in.

The Welsh midfielder is hoping to have recovered from a hamstring injury in time to feature in Saturday's Premier League game with Everton at Goodison Park.

If Giggs does make the trip to Merseyside, he will move onto 722 appearances and with an extension to his current contract, which expires next summer, expected to be agreed in the coming months, there appears no reason why the 33-year-old should not eclipse Charlton's record with something to spare.

Charlton cannot think of a worthier recipient for the honour, so much so that he intends to persuade the United board into letting him present Giggs with a momento of the occasion when he does eventually get there.

"I would love it if Ryan got the record," Charlton said. "It would be so fitting and I would be pleased to have the opportunity to go on to the pitch and present him with something. In fact, if they didn't ask me, I would pester them until they did.

"When I finished I could not believe anyone would play more games than that," he added. "But Ryan is almost there now. To physically put your body through what he has is very difficult and that is why I am so delighted for him."

Giggs has always had a special place in Charlton's affections because he was one of the first senior figures associated with United to see the Welshman in action.

The England World Cup winner has never forgotten the day he ventured up to the club's Lyttleton Road training ground to watch a group of triallists.

On wandering over to one of the furthest pitches away from the car park to meet Sir Alex Ferguson, he spotted a lithe young winger cutting a swathe through the opposition defence in a manner he had rarely seen before.

"I set off for Pitch 11, where Alex was, and got about halfway there when I saw this little lad pick up the ball, beat about four men and then shoot," Charlton recalled.

"The goalkeeper made a great save but I could not get up to see Alex quick enough. I asked him who it was and it turned out to be Ryan. He had just been signed that morning from under the noses of Manchester City. I just thought 'that will do me'."

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