Ryan Giggs voted Manchester United's greatest ever player

Sir Alex Ferguson can see just why Ryan Giggs has been voted the greatest player in Manchester United history - even though the man himself cannot quite believe it.

Giggs finished ahead of United legends Eric Cantona, George Best and Sir Bobby Charlton in a poll of thousands of readers of club magazine Inside United, plus the official website, www.manutd.com.

It is the latest accolade in a glittering career, that now extends to an incredible 859 appearances and will continue on into next season after Giggs agreed a one-year contract extension recently.

And, whilst other names might demand their right to be considered number one, manager Ferguson believes the United fans have got it exactly right.

"I am not surprised at all," Ferguson told Inside United.

"Longevity always comes into play in these things and Ryan has been around here for more time than any other player.

"He recently appeared in his 600th league game, which is an exceptional achievement.

"That won't be done again, not by one player at the same club. And then we can talk about his performances, which have been top class for 20 years. Even now, at the age of 37, he is amazing."

Ferguson pointed out the sacrifices Giggs has had to make to remain at the top of his profession for so long.

Still, the proud Welshman was shocked to be informed of his latest award.

"When I got told I genuinely couldn't believe it," he said.

"There have been so many great players here."

It is quite remarkable that Giggs should still be playing to his present level at an age which means rising Premier League star Jack Wilshere was not even born when he made his United debut.

Giggs' age is often brought up within the confines of the United dressing room, especially by those who have youth on their side.

"It doesn't really feel like I am 37," he said.

"I have some great banter with the young players and still think of myself as just one of the lads.

"There was an article in the paper about it being 20 years since my debut and they had some stats in there which the lads were killing me about.

"The time has gone very quickly. I am not finished yet though - I feel great and I hope I can carry on for a while longer."

Manchester United's Greatest Ever Player: Top 10.

1) Ryan Giggs, 2) Eric Cantona, 3) George Best, 4) Sir Bobby Charlton, 5) Cristiano Ronaldo, 6) Paul Scholes, 7) David Beckham, 8) Roy Keane, 9) Peter Schmeichel, 10) Wayne Rooney.