Ryan Giggs has talent and toughness to spare, and his adaptability has seen him play at the top level into his late 30s. These factors and more make him the greatest player in Premier League history, according to pundit and former teammate Gary Neville.
“Ryan Giggs will go down as the most successful British footballer of all time and I cannot see anyone ever overtaking him,” Neville told PremierLeague.com. “He’s on the brink of his 13th League title, after all.”
“Ryan is unique, he has surpassed all records in terms of domestic titles and he has incredible desire, quality and spirit. He’s just fantastic to watch every single week.”
Giggs, 38, made his Manchester United debut at the dawn of the Premier League in 1991. He has played in all 20 Premier League seasons, lifting the championship trophy 12 times (United is on the verge of making it 13 next month).
The world came to know Giggs when he was an outrageously gifted teenage winger, who blew past opposing fullbacks with ease. But he has mellowed with age, and changed his game at the point when most players end their careers. This has seen him prolong his career, go on to become United’s all-time leader in appearances (907 and counting), and set a number of club and Premier League records along the way.
“Ryan has a God-given talent, and his career has been incredible,” Neville said. “As a sign of Ryan’s greatness, he has constantly adapted his game over the 20 years of the Premier League.
“He went from being a flying winger in the early days to someone who could play off the front, to a central midfielder, and even to left-back if required. He can play anywhere on a football field, and that’s what really great players do: they adapt.”
Neville and Giggs played alongside each other for over two decades at Old Trafford. Neville retired at the end of the 2010-11 season, leaving Giggs (and the retired, then unretired Paul Scholes) to carry the flag of United’s famed “class of 1992.”
“Will we ever see his like again? No, no way. What we’re seeing now with Ryan — and also Paul Scholes, too — in terms of the collection of Premier League titles, that will never happen again,” Neville marvelled.
“The Best Player in the history of the Premier League? It’s got to be Ryan Giggs, no question at all.”
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Photo via Flickr/EmerandSam