Manchester United great Ryan Giggs was named English Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Player of the Year for the first time on Sunday, despite starting just 12 league games this season.
The 35-year-old Welsh midfielder, who has enjoyed nearly two decades of success at Old Traford in a career featuring two Champions League final triumphs, had twice won the Young Player of the Year award but can now add the ultimate mark of esteem from his fellow professionals to his list of prizes.
Giggs has only started a dozen league games this season, but has been a squad regular in all competitions, with the award acknowledging the respect he has from opponents.
If he plays against Arsenal in the Champions League semi-final first leg tomorrow, he will become the first United player to make 800 senior appearances for the club, having broken Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 758 by coming on as substitute in last season’s Chamions League final in Moscow where he scored a penalty in the shoot-out win over English rivals Chelsea.
But the thrill of a major match still gets to Giggs even now.
“It’s an exciting season,” he said. “I think it is going to go right to the wire, there’s big game after big game now.”
Giggs, whose current contract expires at the end of next season, said of his future: “As long as I’m getting picked, enjoying it and injury-free, I’ll carry on as long as I can. At 35 you can’t look too far into the distance, you just can’t.”
Aston Villa winger Ashley Young was named Young Player of the Year.