Ryan Giggs Retires - The Premier League's Greatest Player?

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Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Mon May 19, 2014 11:31 am

First topic message reminder :

In becoming Louis Van Gaal's Assistant Manager in this new Manchester United side, Giggs has also announced his retirement. The Winger who was running down the wing became the midfielder tearing teams open with beautiful passes. 40 years old, a mass amount of medals and one of the sweetest left foots this league will ever see. Is there really anyone else who can compare to Ryan Giggs in the Premier League era?

Wonderful goals, variation in play, medals, longevity, grace and, most important, talent in abundance; can anyone really compare? Sure Henry was world class in his spell, sure Ronaldo was arguably the best player in the world at one point, Shearer may have bagged a lot of goals...but have any been Ryan Giggs?

And where does he list in the United greats of all time? Arguably the symbol of everything that worked for United, and then seeing him marginalised in the year United were their worst.

Debate the above and talk about the wonderful moments of one of the greats. The last true great for those of us who grew up with the Premier League era.

Giggs' Open Letter to the fans:
Today is a fantastic day for Manchester United. Louis van Gaal is a great appointment and let me begin by telling you how delighted I am to be working with someone of his calibre. His credentials are second to none and I'm positive the club will thrive under his leadership over the coming years.

I would also like to take this opportunity to announce my retirement from professional football and embark upon a new and exciting chapter in my life, as assistant manager of Manchester United. I am immensely proud, honoured and fortunate to have represented the biggest club in the world 963 times and Wales 64 times. My dream was always to play for Manchester United, and although it saddens me to know I won't be pulling on a United jersey again as a player, I have been lucky enough to have fulfilled that dream playing with some of the best players in the world, working under an incredible manager in Sir Alex Ferguson, and most of all, playing for the greatest fans in world football. I have always felt and appreciated your support.

I want to also give a huge thanks to the backroom staff and support teams we have and have had at Manchester United over the years. I would not have achieved the success I have without your continuing dedication and commitment to creating the best environment to enable the players to thrive. I would not have won 34 trophies in my career without you. I would also like to say a special thanks to my friends and family for all your love and support.

For me, today is a new chapter filled with many emotions - immense pride, sadness, but most of all, excitement towards the future. United fans I hope will share and echo my belief that the club, the management and owners, are doing everything they can to return this great club to where it belongs, and I hope to be there every step of the way. To the greatest fans in world football, thank you, I have loved every minute of playing for you and representing the biggest and best club in the world.

See you next season.

Ryan

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Post by NickisBHAFC on Mon May 19, 2014 6:26 pm

Duty281 wrote:Great player, but nowhere near the best player in the league.

Ronaldo, Henry, Bergkamp, Cantona, Pires all much better players off the top of my head.

If you think Pires is better than Giggs, you don't deserve to watch football.

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Post by Duty281 on Mon May 19, 2014 7:43 pm

I don't deserve to watch football? How terribly pompous of you.

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Post by Crimey on Mon May 19, 2014 8:23 pm

The most ridiculous thing written on here is anybody even mentioning Bale, who I wouldn't even say was the best player in the league in one single year, his two player of the award wins weren't particularly deserved.

I think Giggs is good for different reasons than others like Henry, Ronaldo, Gerrard, Pires, Vieira or Scholes. His main plaudit has to come for his longevity in the league and continued success, but I am not sure I would rate him as one of the best individual talents in the league, but it is very difficult to compare and obviously I have only secondary knowledge of his younger career.

His career will likely be lauded, and rightly so, but I am not sure he was ever the best. I can think of several players I would rank higher than Giggs in that regards, but it is hard to argue that in terms of success he is head and shoulders above them all and his career is basically unprecedented in England. In a table of most league titles, he would be joint third with Arsenal.

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Post by Mat on Mon May 19, 2014 9:44 pm

I don't think Bale should be mentioned in the same breath as some of the names in this thread, including Giggs, but have to disagree with you Crimey. His player of the year award last year was definitely deserved, he was heads and shoulders above any other player in the league.

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Post by Stella on Tue May 20, 2014 2:45 am

compelling and rich wrote:
Stella wrote:
compelling and rich wrote:im sorry but i cant ever see a prem all time 11 without giggs in, who has achieved more during the prem era than giggs? most trophies, most assists, most apperences

I'd have him in a 4-4-2, thanks to his career. Not having Bergkamp is almost unthinkable.

you didnt put him in yours? bergkamp as good as he was doesnt have the goals or assists to back him up like other forwards have. i mean Stuart downing has more assists than him!!

I was referring to myself, pointing out that not picking the Denis is just as bad as not picking Giggs. Ni Keane either. Giggs isn't no better than these two, in fact Bergkamp was better by a furlong.
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Post by socal1976 on Tue May 20, 2014 3:17 am

Giggs was never even the best player on his own team let alone the league. He is the most accomplished player in terms of trophies but he has never had a year where he was the best player in the league let alone the best player on his own team. I would rate Shearer, Cantona, Henry, Bergkamp, Ronaldo, Rooney, Gerrard, Scholes, Keane, Viera, Ya Ya, suarez all better than him even at his peak. I know he won the player of the year in 09, but I don't think he was the best player in the league that year either. He never had a year that I remember where he just dominated the league like Suarez, Henry, or Gerrard. As an individual player I think he struggles to even make the top ten to be honest. He has always been a very good player on a great team.

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Post by Crimey on Tue May 20, 2014 3:59 am

Mat wrote:I don't think Bale should be mentioned in the same breath as some of the names in this thread, including Giggs, but have to disagree with you Crimey. His player of the year award last year was definitely deserved, he was heads and shoulders above any other player in the league.

I still maintain that he wasn't consistent enough to deserve the award, it definitely should have gone to Van Persie who basically won Manchester United the league, I would have had Juan Mata and Luis Suarez ahead of him as well. Think Bale was anonymous for much of the year and while he did win the occasional game, it was his inconsistent form that meant Tottenham never reached top four as they became increasingly reliant on him.

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Post by compelling and rich on Tue May 20, 2014 5:07 am

Stella wrote:
compelling and rich wrote:
Stella wrote:
compelling and rich wrote:im sorry but i cant ever see a prem all time 11 without giggs in, who has achieved more during the prem era than giggs? most trophies, most assists, most apperences

I'd have him in a 4-4-2, thanks to his career. Not having Bergkamp is almost unthinkable.

you didnt put him in yours? bergkamp as good as he was doesnt have the goals or assists to back him up like other forwards have. i mean Stuart downing has more assists than him!!

I was referring to myself, pointing out that not picking the Denis is just as bad as not picking Giggs. Ni Keane either. Giggs isn't no better than these two, in fact Bergkamp was better by a furlong.

nonsense, think nostalgia is clouding your judgement there, giggs was tearing the prem up before bergkamp was here and carried on doing so during and after. berkamp as a forward best season was 22 goals. giggs isnt far with 17. bergkamp only realy had 4 good seasons, after 2000 he had 7 seasons where he was averaging about 5 goals a season in every season. terrible record. he played for 11 years and is behind stuart downing in assists. a world class goal here and there and people forget about the next 7 games he wouldnt score in

giggs throughout all of the years was consistently good, people are saying he didnt stand out but thats purely because of the team mates he had. its hard to shine on your own with scholes, keane, beckham, rooney, RVN, cantona as your team mates. but he did stand out in the early 90's side

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Post by GSC on Tue May 20, 2014 5:14 am

Giggs is obviously a PL great

I just can't include him among the best PL players, as a player he was good rather than great.

With Ronaldo in PL all time teams, I tend to say screw longetivity, he was the most dominant player in PL history. Hes too good not to make it.

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Post by Stella on Tue May 20, 2014 5:19 am

Nostalgia isn't clouding my judgement but stats are clouding yours. Bergkamp was consistently good from around 97-2002, with 97-98 being the cherry on the icing. The only thing Giggs has on Bergkamp is longevity and medals. IMO, Bergkamp was more important to Arsenal during their top years, as Giggs was to Utd. To be honest, the argument is pointless, as they played in different positions. Best to compare like for like.
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Post by skyeman on Tue May 20, 2014 5:26 am

I will never forget this one. Some are underestimating just how good he was in his prime, in the earlier years once he got the ball defenders paniced, his pace was electrifying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=quI_LkMj4HI

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Post by Stella on Tue May 20, 2014 5:29 am

I prefer the one against Tottenham, even if the Arsenal goal was harder.
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Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue May 20, 2014 8:43 am

I think Giggs is the most decorated player in prem league history and this wont be challenged.

That shows two things. 1) He had longevity...2) He was considered good enough to be consistantly picked by the most successfuly manager ever.

Now that suggests he was a great player. He might still not make the "best ever" 11 as others in indivudal positions may have been better.

Oh and to the guy who said Shearer should not be in over Giggs..well top Prem scorer...best striker ever in the prem. Yes i may be biased but the stats dont lie.

And Giggs wasnt a striker.

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Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Tue May 20, 2014 10:08 am

I wasn't saying Giggs was a better striker, but you couldn't have John coating off Giggs then including Shearer. Ruud and Henry go above Shearer in that regard

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Post by J.Benson II on Tue May 20, 2014 10:46 am

Ali Dia was the Premership's greatest ever player.

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Post by compelling and rich on Tue May 20, 2014 10:58 am

reading some of the comments on here i do despair about what giggs people have been watching. im hoping its just young people who have only seen him for the last 5 years who while still being good for his age is nowhere near how good he was in his peak

for people to say bale after two good years when giggs was doing exactly the same thing throughout the 90's either shows ignorance or lack of common sense

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue May 20, 2014 11:01 am

With longevity Giggs obviously becomes a much stronger candidate but at the top of their game there are several players better in the PL era. Not putting down an excellent player but he was a notch below world class.

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Post by compelling and rich on Tue May 20, 2014 11:05 am

there wasnt a better left winger in the world during the 90's but he wasnt world class?  Headscratch 


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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue May 20, 2014 11:09 am

Think you're looking through tinted specs if you think that.

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Post by J.Benson II on Tue May 20, 2014 11:23 am

Giggs was surely world class at his best.

Altough there have been other wingers in PL history that were similar in quality or better than him but I can understand that his overall career and legacy will see him considered number one.

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Post by compelling and rich on Tue May 20, 2014 11:29 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Think you're looking through tinted specs if you think that.

feel free to name some, the only one i can think of is rivaldo but more often than not he was in behind the striker but could play on the left

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Post by Stella on Tue May 20, 2014 11:32 am

I think Giggs was world class for a period, but so have many players. Zidane played left mid for a while, but was not a winger like Giggs.
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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue May 20, 2014 11:38 am

Ginola, Overmars from the Premiership straight away without even thinking about other leagues. Again you could argue that they didn't sustain their form over the period Giggs did which is why i said bringing longevity aids Giggs' case.

I guess with a term like World Class it can be down to how you define it, i'm using it to mean would they get into a world team. Giggs never would have for me.

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Post by compelling and rich on Tue May 20, 2014 11:43 am

come on!! giggs out performed overmars and ginola all the time! neither were anywhere near giggs at his best and could only do it for brief periods.

if this wasnt a united legend we were talking about it may be different

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue May 20, 2014 11:46 am

compelling and rich wrote:come on!! giggs out performed overmars and ginola all the time! neither were anywhere near giggs at his best and could only do it for brief periods.

if this wasnt a united legend we were talking about it may be different

I'd agree with that part. I take it you are a Man U fan? To say neither reached Giggs at his best is very short sighted.

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Post by compelling and rich on Tue May 20, 2014 11:48 am

Stella wrote:I think Giggs was world class for a period, but so have many players. Zidane played left mid for a while, but was not a winger like Giggs.

round pegs square holes, just like rivaldo we all know that central was there postion. and like majority of players in the world it took quite a while for zidane to hit his peak, late 90's at juv he started playing to his best (france 98 obvious example) but wasn't till madrid we saw the best of him at club level. giggs had nearly had a decade playing at the top level by that time, thats what makes giggs such a unique player. not many been able to sustain form for such long periods

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue May 20, 2014 12:10 pm

Dolphin Ziggler wrote:I wasn't saying Giggs was a better striker, but you couldn't have John coating off Giggs then including Shearer. Ruud and Henry go above Shearer in that regard

You can have those...ill stick with Shearer thanks.

I think Giggs suited Man U's style. He worked his backside off...he had pace, he did have a lot of ability. And in general he kept his nose totally clean, so no risk of the Beckham or Stam treatment.


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Post by GSC on Tue May 20, 2014 12:18 pm

Henry was undeniably better than Shearer imo
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Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Tue May 20, 2014 12:23 pm

Overmars and Ginola are better than Giggs? They didnt even beat him at their peak when Giggs was a central midfielder

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Post by Guest on Tue May 20, 2014 12:47 pm

GSC wrote:Henry was undeniably better than Shearer imo

In areas, yes, just as Shearer was better in others. They balance each other out but were both great finishers. If you cream yourself over physical specimens & running ability to take players on, then you go for Henry. If you admire pure strength, ability in the air, penalty taking, general set-pieces & acknowledge the stats, of Shearer being the all-time leading EPL scorer, then you go for him. Look, Henry was immense but so was Shearer, I just think people don't like to truly appreciate a player because he's English & not foreign. Could say the same about Giggs.

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Post by Stella on Tue May 20, 2014 12:51 pm

And to think Shearer had some bad injuries. I loved him pre Newcastle when he use to not only score, but maraud round the pitch with intent to pressure. After the second injury, his pace had gone, not that he was 'Giggs' quick. He did adapt well, mind.
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Post by compelling and rich on Tue May 20, 2014 12:52 pm

think most would have shearer and henry as number 1 and 2 in prem history. i certainly would anyway. think i just edge to henry because of his ability to produce magic on his own. shearer was more of a striker who relied on service. but you cant argue with eithers stats, goals for strikers is where it counts

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Post by J.Benson II on Tue May 20, 2014 1:08 pm

Henry was the number one foward PL history. One of the few guys at his best that came close to the quality of the Brazilian Ronaldo.
Second best PL foward is up for grabs. Over several players are candidates.

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Post by Hammersmith harrier on Tue May 20, 2014 1:09 pm

A lot of the those commenting on this are in the late teens and early 20's so unfortunately will not have been old enough to remember Giggs at his absolute best. Without the context of being around at the time you have no idea how good he was it is that simple especially those comparing him to Overmars or Pires.

Giggs in the 98-02 period was just one cog of equal importance to 12 others (including Butt and P Nev) so his ability to stand out in a team that played as a team is diminished. He was one of 4 major providers in the team who all chipped in with goals too. When you're the focal point of a team and so much better than your team mates it creates a different perception, Henry was by far Arsenals best player. While Gerrard and Lampard were relied upon for their goals so the their teams play around.

Ask me who our best player was after Cantona left and before Ronaldo hit his peak and I wouldn't have an answer. In short Giggs was a big fish in a big pond, any of player mentioned thus far has been a big fish in a small pond.

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Post by skyeman on Tue May 20, 2014 4:14 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Think you're looking through tinted specs if you think that.

I am not a Utd supporter, the guy was immense in the nineties.

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Post by skyeman on Tue May 20, 2014 4:21 pm

Hypothetically, if Messi was loaned out to Chelsea for a season. Would he then be regarded as the greatest ever PL player?

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Post by GSC on Tue May 20, 2014 4:36 pm

If we're dealing in extremes, if Kevin Nolan plays for 20 years does that make him a great?
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Post by Stella on Tue May 20, 2014 4:41 pm

A GREAT big dirty Muppet!
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Post by skyeman on Tue May 20, 2014 4:57 pm

GSC wrote:If we're dealing in extremes, if Kevin Nolan plays for 20 years does that make him a great?


No, but it does make Messi the best ever PL player. But not the greatest!

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Tue May 20, 2014 5:32 pm

For me the greatest Premier league player isn't Ryan Giggs

I'd have him top 3, but Henry is top by a mile for me.

His longevity has to be a factor, he carried on his level for a great period of time. Has to be a factor
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Post by Guest on Tue May 20, 2014 5:45 pm

Henry isn't miles ahead, he had a about a four year spell of brilliance, only hit 30 goals once & then injuries hit. Shearer at Blackburn hit 31, 34 & then 31 in consecutive seasons, then first year at Newcastle hit 25. He then hit 23 two years later, 23 in 2002, 17 in 2003, 22 in 2004 & then injuries hit. Correct me, if my stats are wrong.

Like someone said about younger generation on here. The 90's was an astonishing period for Shearer & Giggs, when they were in their primes.

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Post by kingraf on Tue May 20, 2014 6:04 pm

It's about capturing the imagination, isn't it? Well done to Giggs, though, longevity is a hard thing to achieve, especially at a champion team.

For what its worth, it's all subjective in any case, I watch Barca play a lot, and I think Messi's quite impressed me, or rather had me as spellbound, as Iniesta. One is obviously better than the other, but you'll be surprised how big a difference silkiness, makes to your rating of a player... Thomas Muller
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Post by guildfordbat on Tue May 20, 2014 6:31 pm

Interesting debate, particularly about Giggs' longevity and the credit he should (or shouldn't) get for it.

The longevity factor cropped up in the early days of the cricket forum when we discussed which former players belonged in our Hall of Fame. To the extent any conclusion was reached, it was that it was for each poster to judge which factors make up greatness and weight them accordingly.

For me, longevity has to go into the mix. Without it, we're in danger of holding the door open for any 'one season wonder'. However, longevity by itself is not enough. I believe I'm correct in saying that Teddy Sheringham played in the Premier League at the age of 40 - that together with his skill and achievements probably pushes him from good to very good in my book but still some way short of greatness.

By most standards here, I would certainly say Giggs was a Premier League great although not the greatest. That for me would actually be another United player (and I have no connection with the club) - Peter Schmeichel for his brilliance, effectiveness, consistency and enduring sheer bloodyminded determination. A personal call. Not one I would expect many to agree with but, as I say, my call and a player I enjoyed watching immensely.

One little quibble about Giggs - only as regards those claiming him to be the greatest - how exciting a player was he? Put crudely, did he put bums on seats? He probably did in the early years but I would tend to doubt that for quite a while. I think a lot of the (merited) praise for Giggs now is due to his tactical astuteness on the pitch; that's most definitely a positive but is it really quite enough? I go back a long way and remember Law and Best at Old Trafford - the excitement they each generated was considerably stronger than that of Giggs albeit in the latter case the candle burned out long before the legend ever did (someone could make a song out of that!  Wink ).

I do believe that the thrill or excitement a player gives to spectators belongs in the equation. That's why for me - going back to the cricket forum - Jacques Kallis is a long way behind Gary Sobers when determining the greatest all rounder even if their stats suggest otherwise.

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Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Tue May 20, 2014 7:39 pm

No no no Guildford! He isnt exciting?! Let alone the early years, the man was even exciting as a slower midfielder. The technique and grace of goals like the volley at Fulham, the pass that fed RVP at Upton Park last year. The slide rule ball to Owen. And that is a long time after goals like the Semi final replay, against QPR and Tottenham early days, goals at Juve.

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Post by guildfordbat on Tue May 20, 2014 8:04 pm

Dolphin - I suspect you found Giggs exciting in his later years as you understand and appreciate the game with a necessary patience.

What I was trying to get at in my earlier post and question was - would dads be taking their young sons (apologies for the sexism there - a generational thing!) to Old Trafford to specifically see Giggs and setting them up for a lifetime of following the game? I have some doubts - Giggs still had brilliance in his later years and you give fine examples but I'm not sure they were performed frequently enough to pull in new and young supporters in the way that Law and Best did for earlier generations.

As I said earlier, any quibble here about Giggs is a small one. He has certainly proven himself to me to be a great of the modern game.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed May 21, 2014 3:57 am

Dolphin Ziggler wrote:Overmars and Ginola are better than Giggs? They didnt even beat him at their peak when Giggs was a central midfielder

Which is why Ginola got player of the year while they were both out and out left wingers. Giggs was a great player but he's being built upp a little too much.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed May 21, 2014 3:58 am

skyeman wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Think you're looking through tinted specs if you think that.

I am not a Utd supporter, the guy was immense in the nineties.

I agree. Just never in the top bracket of players.

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Post by Ent on Wed May 21, 2014 4:00 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:
Dolphin Ziggler wrote:Overmars and Ginola are better than Giggs? They didnt even beat him at their peak when Giggs was a central midfielder

Which is why Ginola got player of the year while they were both out and out left wingers. Giggs was a great player but he's being built upp a little too much.

Bit revisionist there, ginola won poty in the treble year.

It's voted for in march and ginola had scored 2 mazy dribbles that season by then.

Just nonsense to suggest it means he was a better player than him.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed May 21, 2014 4:09 am

He was though. In that season. Revisionist comes from people looking at Giggs amazing career and thinking he deserves to be lauded as one of the greatest, hence we get the year Giggs won player of the year despite being no where near the level of best in the league. Like I said initially bring in longevity and Giggs is there or there abouts; peak not a chance for me.

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Post by Kurt N. Jurqa on Wed May 21, 2014 4:15 am

My Premier League 11 would be...

-------------Schmeichel---------
G.Neville---Adams---Stam---Cole
Giggs---Viera---Scholes---Ronaldo
---------Henry---Cantona---------

Subs: Cech, Vidic, Irwin, Gerrard, Lampard, Shearer, Zola.

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