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Feared by the Blues, Loved by the Reds, Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs…
Enter Ryan Giggs.
The veteran Welshman was introduced as a substitute for the often infuriating Nani after 57 minutes and took just five more to provide the pass from which Dimitar Berbatov broke the
He then teed up John O’Shea for United’s second with a pinpoint free kick.
When Cristiano Ronaldo departed for Real Madrid, the spotlight turned on Nani and new recruit Antonio Valencia to fill his boots.
But Giggs, the club’s record appearance maker, is proving that there is no substitute for class and know-how.
Gone are the days when his twinkle toes would leave defenders swinging at thin air, but the 35-year-old’s value to Alex Ferguson’s squad is still immeasurable.
Giggs appears to have an uncanny ability to read a football match, to unlock a defence with a simple pass. He made three of United’s four goals against Manchester City last week and his two assists against Wigan Athletic helped his side go back to the top of the Premier League.
He could again be United’s trump card this season as they try to win a fourth consecutive title and reclaim the Champions League and its no wonder that Ferguson has always treated him like a favourite son.
Few players in the history of the club have endured as long as Giggs and, treated carefully, there appears no reason why he cannot continue at the top level for another couple of seasons.
In the meantime, Nani and Valencia should look and learn and remember the old adage that football is essentially a simple game too often made complicated.
PHOTO: Manchester United’s John O’Shea celebrates scoring against Stoke City with Ryan Giggs during their English Premier League match, Sept. 26, 2009. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh