Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs: Superior Technical Training Increases Longevity

illya mclellan@illya mclellan @illbehaviorNZSenior Analyst IFebruary 28, 2012

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 14:  Paul Scholes of Manchester United shakes hands with Ryan Giggs as he is substituted during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford on January 14, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Having witnessed the spectacle of Paul Scholes' astonishing return to the EPL, and also Ryan Giggs' continued high standards, the following question came to my mind:

How is it possible that these players, who have seen their teammates fall like flies around them, are still standing out at top level?

Is it sheer universe-borne talent that enables them to still grace the pitch at times, as they did in their respective heydays?

Or is it simpler than that?

Does it, in fact, show that training techniques and modern methods of football have in fact lowered the effective skill level of players in a pure footballing sense in favour of more physical and power focus training methods?

Or perhaps they were just so rigorously applied as players in such top class fixtures for so long that they built up an almost super skill set?

This enables them to adapt their performance in such a way that it remains effective, even when many of their fellow players from across the years have gradually lost their effective ability over the course of games.

That said, they do not, of course, always play to exceptional levels.

The impressive performances they are able to turn out come at regular enough intervals for them to remain on the cutting edge of what is often called the "best league in the world."

Of course, anyone who would say such a thing would be a lunatic, as from week to week there are several leagues across the planet that produce excellent levels of football all-year round.

There is a high level of physical and technical skill present in the EPL, and so it is no mean feat that Giggs and Scholes achieve it here.

The level of physical conditioning that takes place amongst these players is so thorough that they are expected to run at speed whilst making acute decisions for 90 minutes—and then sometimes for another half hour or more.

Giggs scored a 90th minute winner just days ago—the other to find the net was, of course, Scholes.

There has, of course, been the apparent influence of the Milan Lab, the highly successful program instigated by AC Milan in Italy, which has increased the effective longevity of several players who have shone in their later years.

There is this, but perhaps there is also the spectre of players not reaching the technical level of former greats, merely because the physical demands of the game are detracting from the skill based training at younger levels.

Could it be that players are not being coached well enough anymore?

Not, of course, out of any willful negligence, but merely because the demands of the game exact such methods?

Maybe these players are, in fact, able to play on at such a level because they are excellent.

Or perhaps it could be they benefited from a more thorough coaching method in their formative years.

It is, as they say, food for thought.