independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Giggs adapts to role as United's elder statesman

Ryan Giggs has admitted life as a fringe member of Manchester United's squad has its own problems.

Gone are the days when Giggs was an automatic presence in Alex Ferguson's starting line-up.

Indeed, so infrequently was the 39-year-old selected at the start of the season, there were claims he might call time on his stellar career.

Yet, over Christmas, Giggs has been a key man for United, impressing in his substitute role at Swansea. He also completed the full 90 minutes at the DW Stadium on New Year's Day, which almost certainly means he will not be involved in Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie at West Ham.

"It can be difficult," Giggs said. "But a lot of players are in that position. We have a big squad."

As United try to secure a record 20th league title, the Welshman's experience in the dressing-room is invaluable.

"My role has changed over the last five or six years," he said. "I'm an experienced player and an elder statesman. It's a position I'm quite comfortable with. I am helping the young players."

Ferguson has already promised changes at Upton Park. Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are also searching for full fitness after their early-season absences, while Darren Fletcher and Shinji Kagawa could also feature.

With Anders Lindegaard and Alex Buttner also due a game, Ferguson could switch half his team without even thinking whether Wayne Rooney is ready to return following his knee injury.

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