Ryan Giggs at 40: 'I'll stay in bed' – birthday boy plans to avoid Manchester United pranks

Player says he'll be glad when the big day is over

They may simply present him with a birthday cake, but Ryan Giggs suspects his team-mates are planning something more in tune with the mischievous mood of dressing rooms the world over to mark his 40th birthday on Friday.

“I’ll be glad when it is over,” Giggs said on Thursday. “It is obviously a milestone but I try not to think about it much – and I honestly don’t until people remind me. I don’t know if the lads are planning anything – but I’m not going in [to Manchester United’s Carrington training ground] just in case. I’m going to stay in bed.”

He will not, of course: it is in large part his dedication to fitness that has enabled Giggs to keep going. Wayne Rooney revealed that, during United’s 5-0 filleting of Bayer Lever-kusen on Wednesday, in which Giggs ran the midfield, an opponent asked him: “How is Giggs still playing at that age?” Rooney admitted he had no idea, but he was sure he would not be playing at 40.

Rio Ferdinand said he did not know Giggs’ secret either, but added: “I am going to have to see what he is eating and copy everything that he is doing. He is 40 years old and it is ridiculous to be playing at this level, but he must have been very lucky with his genetics.”

“I’m enjoying it, and it helps when you have legs around you,” said Giggs. “There’s Phil Jones in midfield and the front four [in Leverkusen] were brilliant, a real handful. So that helps.

“I tend to enjoy it more in December and January when the games come thick and fast and I can get into a rhythm.

“Obviously you’ve got to work hard during the week, put in the performances in training and hopefully you get picked. And when you are picked it is just like when you are younger really, you’ve got to take your chance.

“I still get a buzz from matches like Wednesday. You’ve got to – winning 5-0 away against the team second in the Bundesliga.”

United’s biggest away win in Europe’s elite competition since the days of the Busby Babes was highly impressive, especially with several key players out. “If we play like that we can reach another European final,” said Giggs, who has played in four Champions League finals, winning two. He added: “We have experience, youth, and speed and quality up front.”

Chris Smalling, who represents the more youthful side of United, said that Giggs is a role model. “He is a cool head in the middle,” Smalling said. “Despite his age, even in the 90th minute he was still taking on three or four [Leverkusen] players. It is terrific to see such a legend playing amongst us. His pass for Nani’s goal at the end just sums him up. He has that incredible vision. He is terrific and an example to everyone.”

Smalling added that Giggs and Rooney have been key in the way United have hit their straps, first against Cardiff, then in Germany. “We are starting to look a real threat from set pieces, which is important because the manager wants us to chip in,” Smalling said. “We have a few players who can be dangerous in those areas and with the delivery Rooney and Giggs were putting in, we were due.”

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam