No sign of stopping magisterial Giggs

Ryan Giggs rolled back the years when he scored a sublime goal to give Manchester United a 1-0 win over West Ham United on Sunday and luckily for his fans it seems that the good times are far from over.

Collecting a cross-field pass from Paul Scholes, he dummied to go left past West Ham's Carlton Cole, switched the ball to his right foot, glided past Scott Parker and then shot through a crowded penalty area, sending the ball wide of West Ham keeper Robert Green.

The goal brought him an record of scoring at least once in all 17 seasons of the Premier League's existence - as well as scoring for United in the two seasons before it began.

GALLERY: Giggs goals in each of the 17 Premier League seasons

It evoked memories of great goals through the seasons which have helped him win 10 Premier League titles for United, four FA Cups and two Champions League winners medals among others. The way Manchester United are playing, that will probably not be the end of his trophy haul either.

If they do win trophies this season, the defence and goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar will have done their part too -- with Van der Sar keeping a clean sheet for 20 hours and 12 minutes, a record in British soccer. They have not conceded a Premier League goal for 13 matches.

Giggs, though proved himself the matchwinner again.

Even though he is now 35, and, according to manager Alex Ferguson: "can no longer tramp up and down the wing like he used to", Ferguson said last month he will award him an extension to his contract and his "model professional" said thanks by sending United two points clear of Liverpool at the top of the table with a game in hand.


His name is deeply etched in United's glittering history having played more games for the club than anyone else -- 787 according to United's official website.

He surpassed Bobby Charlton's 35-year-old record of 758 appearances last May in Moscow when he helped United win the European Cup for the third time, the second of his career.

He is also closing in on the 150-goal landmark with 147 so far, and now playing more of a central role, is enjoying a new lease of life.

In all he has won 20 honours with United -- an individual record in English soccer football -- and this year is an early candidate to pick up an award he has never previously won by being named England's Footballer of the Year.

Ferguson, who has guided his career since he came to United as a young boy after training with Manchester City, has always praised the player.

After last year's Champions League final victory over Chelsea, Ferguson said that Giggs would not feature as regularly this season -- but for once Ferguson appears to have changed his mind.


United have played 41 in all competitions, with Giggs featuring 27 times, and after watching his display on Sunday, West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola has advised him to carry on playing for as long as he can.

"I have a lot of admiration for him," Zola said after the game.

"He is a fantastic player and although I was on the opposite side, I enjoy watching players like him.

"I think he is a great advertisement for football and for young players too. It's up to him but when I was his age I did not want to give up, I wanted to get better and better. That's why I kept playing for more years and looking at him I hope he has the same desire."

Ferguson too, who has been praising him since he was a young teenager.

"Ryan will be offered a new contract of course," he said recently.

"He has been fantastic for us this season and seems to be getting better with age."

After seeing him score a rare goal with his right foot at West Ham, he added: "I am searching my memory bank for the last time he scored with his right foot. I think it was against Coventry 12 years ago. He is a credit to the game. If anyone wants an example of how to dedicate themselves to football, you could have no greater example than Ryan Giggs."

Earlier this season Giggs hinted that he was thinking of retiring, but with the offer of a new contract he is likely to carry on for at least one more season.

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