Man Utd’s Ryan Giggs wins PFA footballer of the year
The veteran Welsh winger was a popular choice among his fellow professionals in a year which saw no stand-out performer emerge
Ryan Giggs, Manchester United's veteran midfielder, last night won the Professional Footballers' Association's (PFA) player of the year award in his 18th season as a player. The young player of the year award was taken by Ashley Young of Aston Villa. Giggs beat four fellow Manchester United players (Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Edwin van der Sar and Cristiano Ronaldo) and Liverpool's Steven Gerrard to the award.
The award represents the ultimate accolade for a footballer - the recognition of his peers, fellow professional players - and is perhaps the only significant trophy that the 35-year-old Welshman had yet to receive. In his time at Old Trafford Giggs won 10 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and the Champions League twice.
There had been some criticism of Giggs nomination for the award (and subsequent victory) - he has only started for Manchester United 12 times this season, and scored a solitary goal in the Premier League, but supporters point to his increasingly influential role in Sir Alex Ferguson's team. Giggs has developed a more complete and creative game to counter the loss of his remarkable pace, and is on the verge of making his 800th appearance for the Old Trafford outfit.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYINGOliver Kay, the Times: "Belated? Yes. Deserved? Yes. In the absence of a stand-out performer in the English game this season, football writers, like football players, have been looking a little deeper than usual for a worthy recipient of their vote and a great number have concluded that the Manchester United veteran, at the age of 35, is their man. Sentiment has probably played a part in just about every one of those votes, but, if the PFA award is to go to Giggs, who is to argue that the union’s members (a) are wrong or (b) have gone soft?"
Bryan Robson, Giggs' former Man Utd captain, on the BBC: "If you asked any player or pundit in the world which left-winger is in their ultimate dream team, they'd say Ryan Giggs. Ryan has fantastic balance, he's quick, a great athlete and lately his composure in the final third has improved. He has an unbreakable winning mentality and attitude to want to improve himself whenever he is faced with a challenge. There was once talk of him leaving United but he simply reinvented himself and became even better. A player with that much drive and focus is hard to find." ·
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