The return of Beckham takes the heat off Giggs

May 25, 2011
Ben Riley-Smith

‘Fergie’s Fledglings’ return to Old Trafford for Gary Neville’s testimonial match

It was just like old times at Old Trafford on Tuesday night as Ryan Giggs and David Beckham were the main attractions as an array of United legends took to the turf together for the first time in almost a decade to honour Gary Neville.

Thousands of Manchester United fans were there to see the return of 'Fergie's Fledglings', the kids who Alan Hansen said would win nothing but went on to win everything. David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes all joined Neville for his testimonial, playing together at the Theatre of Dreams for the first time since 2003.


Juventus beat United 2-1 on the night, but the scoreline failed to dampen the mood as fans revelled in the return of the 'Class of 92': the players who won the 1992 FA Youth Cup and went on to form the heart of United's team for the next decade.


Unsurprisingly, the attention of the press was focussed on Ryan Giggs. The Welshman's 30-minute cameo in the match was his first public appearance since being named as the man behind the Imogen Thomas injunction. He had earlier avoided the media scrum waiting for him at United's Champions League training session earlier in the day.


Fans, however, were far more interested in the surprise return of Red Devils' golden boy David Beckham.


Becks had been given special permission by LA Galaxy to miss their league match – quite a feat, given the strained relations between player and club – to play alongside his old team mate Neville in Manchester.


His efforts to attend the match were not lost on the Old Trafford faithful. Supporters cheered Beckham's every touch, relishing the chance to see him once again wearing the United number seven shirt. They were treated to a number of trademark Beckham free kicks, including one which came close to giving United an equaliser late in the match.


Indeed the excitement was too much for one young lad who hopped the barriers and sprinted towards Beckham as he was taking a corner. The pitch invader was greeted with open arms by Becks, who gave the kid a hug before the stewards got to him.


There was even time for Beckham to tip United to lift the Champions League trophy this Saturday. "If any club and any manager can beat Barca, it is United and Sir Alex Ferguson," he said.

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