Is Ryan Giggs the Greatest Footballer Ever to Play in the Premier League ?

The Early Days

As a follow up to my hub The Greatest Goal Ever Scored I have decided to write about Ryan Giggs. He was born in Canton, Cardiff on 29 November 1973 and moved to Swinton, Salford at the age of six when his father Danny Wilson became a professional Rugby League player.

Ryan Joseph Wilson has he was known then started playing for a local side called Deans FC where he was spotted by a scout from Manchester City and he was persuaded to sign for the Manchester City School of Excellence. He continued to play for Deans when Harold Wood (a steward from Old Trafford) spoke personally to Alex Ferguson about Giggs. A trial was arranged between Salford boys and United's under 15's while Ferguson watched from his office. Giggs scored a hat trick and Alex Ferguson said that he felt like he had just struck gold.

Ferguson had to wait almost another year but on 29 November 1987. Ferguson along with a scout called round to the Wilson household on Giggs's fourteenth birthday and offered him a two-year deal on associate schoolboy forms with the opportunity to turn professional in three years. Giggs signed up there and then for a record £350,000. Right under the noses of Manchester City.

A very young Ryan
A very young Ryan

The Early Manchester United Years

On his seventeenth birthday, Giggs turned professional. He had changed his name when his mother got remarried. He came on as a substitute against Everton as his first ever appearance in the league at Old Trafford 2nd March 1991.He made his first full start against Manchester City and scored the only goal in a 1-0 win.

Giggs has often been criticised for choosing to play for Wales over England but the truth is that Giggs had captained the England team at schoolboy level. This is because as a schoolboy you can play for the country you reside in but once you turn professional, you could only play for your country of birth. As Ryan Giggs was born in Wales, his parents are Welsh and his Grandparents are Welsh, he had to play for Wales. I think the rules are a little more relaxed now but at the time, they were pretty much set in stone.

Although he had broke into the first team, he was still captain of the youth team that contained the lads who became known as Fergie's Fledglings. The two Neville brothers Gary and Phil, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes. And he captained the team that won the FA Youth Cup in 1992. He won his first medal at senior level in this season by winning the League Cup and he was also voted the PFA Young Player of the Year.

The season 1992-93 was the first season of the Premier League and he was now playing regularly in the first team. The media had picked up him by now and he was being flaunted as a pin-up, often appearing on the front covers of girls magazines, much to the annoyance of Alex Ferguson. On the field, he played a major part in Manchester United winning their first title in 26 years.

He was a great influence In the 93-94 season at the age of just 20, when United won the double. The FA Cup (England's most prestigious Cup) and the league title.

I don't think that it is any coincidence that the 1994-95 season ended with United not winning anything. Giggs only played 29 league games because of injury and United certainly missed him. He only managed to score one league goal but as it turns out a very important one for him. Cantona was banned for the final four months of the season and Roy Keane had a long time out due to injury.

In the season 1995-96 Fergie's Fledglings had broke into the team. They lost away to Aston Villa 3-1 in their first game of the new season, which prompted the Match of the Day pundit Alan Hanson to say that united will win nothing with kids. The kids went on to do the double again.

It was the 1998-99 season when Giggs scored what I consider to be the greatest goal ever against Arsenal in the FA Cup Semi-final replay. You can see that in my other hub The greatest goal ever. This was the season when United won what had been called the impossible treble. The English league title, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League.

Source

The Later Years

Giggs became United's longest serving player by the start of the 2003-04 season. They had won another three titles by then and he had scored over 100 goals in all competitions. United went on to win another league title in 2007 and in doing so Giggs became the only player to hold nine league title medals. As of the time of writing the medal table stand at:

· Manchester United 18

· Liverpool 18

· Arsenal 13

· Ryan Giggs 11

· Everton 9

In 2007 he was awarded an OBE for services to football. In May 2008 he made his 100th appearance in the UEFA Champions League and later that month went on to break Bobby Charlton's record for the most appearances.

Sir Alex Ferguson has started to use Giggs a little more sparingly nowadays and plays more in the centre. It meant that Giggs can still influence a game and in 2009 was voted the PFA Player of the Year. He has also maintained his record of being the only player to score a goal in every season of the Premier League. The British public voted for him to become 2009 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

His hard working, down to earth attitude has enabled Ryan Giggs to maintain his career for so long. He is still performing at the highest level to this day and he is an example to every young footballer.

As Ryan keeps on playing and breaking more records, I have added a news capsule below to keep up to date with him.

Update

Just a little update to say that on the 10th February 2013 Ryan Giggs scored against Everton and as now scored a goal in the Premier League for the last 23 seasons.

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Comments 13 comments

Donnacha C profile image

Donnacha C 5 years ago from Ennis, Co Clare, Republic of Ireland

no doubts he is great player and has been a great servant for Man UTD, but it would be far too generous to rate him as the greatest ever player in the EPL`s history...unless you are a Man UTD suporter that is.


pe555 profile image

pe555 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Donnacha C for the comment but you must admit that Gigsy would have been able to walk into any team in the premiership. Every club would have bid for him, had he become available. As a measure of his longevity, just remember that Steve McManaman started his career at about the same time and how long has he been out of the game?.

Yes I am biased and Man U through and through.


Martyv25 5 years ago

Giggs is certainly one of the best players to have played in the English premier leauge, the service and commitment he has provided to Manchester United over the years has been immense. To still be cutting it at the top level now is amazing.

And I support the Toon!


Martyv25 5 years ago


pe555 profile image

pe555 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Marty, When I wrote this I didn't think that others would agree with me. Especially supporters from other clubs.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Yes you would be hard pressed to think of a player who has had more success or more of an impact than Giggsy, except for Beckham perhaps. Cheers from a nervous Wolves fan, as we play the Red Devils this coming week. I'm going to hide under the bed for ninety minutes.


pe555 profile image

pe555 5 years ago from UK Author

Attemptedhumour, I come from the town which provided Wolves with the lowest moment in your history.

Chorley 3-0 Wolves FA Cup 1986. Sorry I just couldn't resist. It is Chorley's greatest moment in their history.


Shahrukh17 profile image

Shahrukh17 5 years ago from Islamabad

Giggs is one of the most Inspirational Football players i have come across.


truth99999 4 years ago

giggs is miles ahead of everyone


truth9999 4 years ago

giggs has won way way more than any player in history...hes played more games....shes lasted longer than everyone at the top...hes created more goals than any player in recorded history...hes banged in 174 goals too...hes entertained more than anyone at british and european level...what else does he need to do to prove hes the best ever? play football on the moon?


James Vernon profile image

James Vernon 4 years ago from UK

Surely Carlton Palmer has got to be a contender. Only joking. Good hub. Voted up.


Pip 2 years ago

Giggs is definitely the best player Manu ever had. He is sensational and he is without hesitation, always and always remain as my most favourite footballer. I have been growing up watching Manu. Following Giggs , the 17-year old golden boy since his first appearance in 92' is always a breeze. Stunning footballer of all time. And his dedication to the team has always been remarkable. I'm always his fan. It would be sad to see him retired, as if a part of Manu is dying and a part of me is amputated. I would love to have that no.11 shirt gracing through the field forever.


worldsoccer profile image

worldsoccer 2 years ago from Dhaka

He is one of the best but can't rate him as the best player of premier league, i wrote a hub about top 10 best premier league players of all time and it wasn't easy for me to rate 10 players as the top 10. Ryan Gigs is a very loyal and excellent player but I guess there are much better player than him who played in the premier league. If you are a Manchester United fan still you can't ignore Wayne Rooney.

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