Ryan Giggs defends Wayne Rooney over penalty miss

Manchester United striker missed from the spot against West Ham

Ryan Giggs has jumped to Wayne Rooney's defence over his Manchester United penalty-kick trauma.

Rooney failed from the spot for the second time this season, and his 10th overall as a United player, as the Red Devils scraped past West Ham to book an FA Cup fourth round tie with Fulham on January 26.

Evidently, Sir Alex Ferguson was not impressed by this latest effort, ballooned into the Stretford End, which added to a catalogue of such failures from his side.

United have now missed more penalties than they have scored this term - the current score stands at 5-4. However, Giggs has been around long enough to know these frailties can affect anyone.

Even United's most lethal predator in recent times, Ruud van Nistelrooy, missed three in succession once, culminating in those lamentable scenes against Arsenal in 2003.

"Players sometimes go through these types of spells," said Giggs.

"Ruud van Nistelrooy missing three on the trot. Not many people remember that but I certainly do.

"The fourth one he stepped up, buried it and probably didn't miss one again.

"Wayne is our penalty taker. He will be disappointed because he is a goalscorer who wants to score goals.

"But I am sure if we get another, he will take it."

That observation may not prove to be accurate given Robin van Persie - who is also one of four United players to miss a penalty this term - has since scored from the spot and is quickly taking on the mantle of indispensable.

With 21 goals and a growing number of assists, it is easy to see why so many think Van Persie is solely responsible for United's position seven points clear in the Premier League.

But Ferguson is not prepared to buy into that theory.

"I don't go along with the idea we have become a one-man team," Ferguson told United Review.

"There was a time in our history when one man did carry us for a while. Eric Cantona kept us in contention with his goals when a few others were off the boil.

"But things are quite different now."

His argument is that, with 18 different goalscorers, Rooney has nine after netting the only goal before his spot-kick miss, United have threats from so many different areas.

Thus far, Giggs' name is absent from the goalscorers' chart.

As the only man to score in every Premier League campaign, there is added significance behind the 39-year-old's next goal.

However, the whispers Giggs was past it, which were becoming louder in the autumn as he failed to make any significant impact on United's campaign, have now been silenced.

The midfielder was named man-of-the-match against the Hammers, with Ferguson confirming afterwards Giggs could extend his career at least into next season.

"I am not thinking about my contract at the moment," he said.

"It is like previous seasons, I am quite relaxed about it.

"I am just enjoying my football. There are so many crucial games at the moment I am not too bothered about what is happening next year.

"I feel good though. Obviously the manager knows how to look after me and I try and look after myself as best I can, which you have to at this age.

"I am not going to play every game but I have to be ready and prepared when called upon."

Ferguson must now ponder what, if any, role Giggs will play on Sunday's visit to Tottenham.

The Welshman has enjoyed plenty of good days at White Hart Lane, although he was part of a midfield that was ruthlessly exposed by Andre Villas-Boas' men at Old Trafford in September.

United have collected an impressive 43 points from a possible 48 since then, so have every reason to be confident of gaining their revenge on Sunday.

"We are in relatively good form," said Giggs. "We have a lot of players coming back, which is the key thing now.

"We are into the FA Cup fourth round, the Champions League will be starting again soon and we also have important league games.

"If we have a big squad available we can achieve a lot this season."

PA

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