Ryan Giggs expects playing careers to last longer

Manchester United midfielder will play into his 40s

Ryan Giggs does not think it will be long before there are a few more additions to the Premier League over-40s club.

After signing a one-year contract extension with Manchester United, Giggs will join that exclusive band next season.

So far, taking out the 10 goalkeepers who have done it, there are only two members, Gordon Strachan and Giggs' former Red Devils team-mate Teddy Sheringham.

Indeed, such are the fitness levels Giggs has managed to maintain throughout the latter stages of his career, no-one would be that surprised if he went on to fulfil the assessment Sir Alex Ferguson made yesterday by completing two more campaigns with the Old Trafford outfit.

However, the veteran Welshman believes advances in sports science make it easier for players to prolong their careers if they retain the desire to do it.

"There are two ways of looking at it," Giggs told MUTV.

"Players are getting a lot of money now. Do they want to play on to their late 30s?

"But there is the other side. With the involvement of sports science, players looking after themselves more - and the facilities are so much better.

"So if they want to, and if they have the desire, players can go on a lot longer than they used to."

His recent appearance against Real Madrid was Giggs' 1000th in senior football.

As the 39-year-old won 64 caps for Wales and also represented the Team GB at the Olympics on four occasions, he still has some work to do before he reaches four figures for United alone.

Yet even reaching his present mark seemed fanciful when he made his debut against Everton in 1991.

"As you enter your 30s, you are just trying to play for as long as you can and get as much out of the game as you can," he said.

"Luckily, I have managed to stay injury free and also had the continuity of the manager.

"I have looked after myself as well, but no-one could envisage getting to 1000 games."

The chances are Giggs will play in one, but not both, of United's two fixtures in 48 hours over the Easter weekend.

That he has not been away on international duty lends itself more to the belief he will be involved in Saturday's Premier League scrap at Sunderland, when the Red Devils, briefly, will look to open up an 18-point lead on Manchester City, rather than Monday's FA Cup quarter-final replay at Chelsea.

Giggs admits having two games in such close proximity is unusual.

However, with Chelsea retaining an interest in the Europa League, the alternatives were not immediately obvious.

"It is strange to have two important games in such a short space of time," he said.

"But I guess it was a question of trying to fit it in.

"The squad is looking good at the minute and hopefully after the international break everyone will have a fully fit squad and we will be able to handle two games in 48 hours."

PA

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