Denis Irwin latest to pay tribute to Ryan Giggs ahead of the Manchester United midfielder's 40th birthday
The Welshman will turn 40 tomorrow
Thursday 28 November 2013
Denis Irwin does not believe the records of 40th birthday boy Ryan Giggs will ever be broken.
The Manchester United winger reaches the latest milestone of his spectacular career tomorrow, which will be the prelude to him joining a select band of players who have appeared in the Premier League after entering their fifth decade.
It goes alongside his 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two Champions Leagues, the stand-out moments from a glittering career that, following his spellbinding appearance in Wednesday night's 5-0 Champions League romp over Bayer Leverkusen, now also extends to 953 United games.
The figures are mind boggling.
And Irwin, who spent 12 years as a team-mate of Giggs at Old Trafford, is certain they will not be matched.
Speaking at Chevrolet retailer Frosts of Shoreham, Irwin said: "That volume of medals will never be broken.
"The number of games? That would take some beating as well.
"What he has done is unbelievable. That kind of longevity at such a top club.
"This is no run of the mill mid-table team or one in the Championship. You are talking the very highest level for the last 23 years.
"The amount of games. The number of trophies. The dedication needed to go the distance and challenge yourself every year.
"To come back for pre-season training and keep going with the same intensity shows what type of player and person he is."
As the man who limped off injured in the game against Everton at Old Trafford on March 2, 1991 to herald Giggs' introduction, Irwin played a unique role in the Welshman's career.
For well over a decade, the pair patrolled the left-hand side of the field. Giggs was the flamboyant winger, Irwin Sir Alex Ferguson's Mr Dependable.
But the Irishman has a secret. He doesn't believe his own contribution could have been possible without Giggs' assistance.
"I was a right-footed full-back," he said.
"Throughout all the time we played together, Ryan was my left foot.
"He wasn't afraid to do his defensive duties. He would always do the dirty side of things.
"I could always trust him to come back and mark the overlapping full-back.
"It was a pleasure to work with him. He made my job a hell of a lot easier."
After sharing in so many triumphs, the actual volume of Giggs' medal haul is not something that particularly startles Irwin.
He is more impressed by his one-time colleague's ability to keep going.
As Irwin acknowledged, once players reach their mid-30s, they tend to get bracketed as veterans and their actual age is forgotten.
Yet, in much the same way as they develop from 25 to 30, so the change continues from 35 to 40.
Having reached the age of 38 before calling time on his own career, Irwin is acutely aware of the effort Giggs has put into the latter years of his career.
"At that age, all you need are two or three indifferent games and the end of the horizon starts to come into view," said Irwin.
"To the media you are a veteran and they are ready to pension you off.
"Mentally you have to deal with that, just as much as the physical side.
"I played a lot the year before but in my final season at Wolves I hardly figured over the last two or three months because I was finding it so tough.
"I know Ryan probably doesn't play as many games as he would like but you still have to train the same way.
"You can't lighten the workload. You need to do exactly the same to show that you can go the pace of the Premier League.
"For him to continue for the past six or seven years, play the amount of games he has and win all those trophies at the very top level is unbelievable."
Denis Irwin was presenting Frosts of Shoreham with a Manchester United Chevrolet Trax - for more information go to http://www.chevrolet.co.uk
Latest in Sport
Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs posts bizarre video of his Miami holiday being invaded by an iguana
Raheem Sterling to Manchester City: Winger to report for Liverpool training on Monday but Reds braced for third City bid this week
Women's World Cup 2015: England secure third place as they beat Germany in extra time with penalty by Fara Williams
Toby Alderweireld to Tottenham: Atletico Madrid 'accept £11m bid' as Spurs beat Southampton to defender
Alexis Sanchez 'will miss start of Arsenal season' after Chile go all the way in Copa America
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 3 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 4 Motorists taunt suicidal woman on bridge and tell her to 'get on with it'
- 5 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture