Ryan Giggs: The True United Timewarp

illya mclellanSenior Analyst ISeptember 22, 2009

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 16:  Ryan Giggs of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on May 16, 2009 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Ryan Giggs passed a milestone recently when he struck his free kick at White Hart Lane to rule out Defoe's opener.

Soon after he put the ball in the top corner, the commentator mentioned he had scored in 20 consecutive seasons playing for Manchester United. Two seasons were in the old first division and then a staggering 18 consecutive EPL seasons.

Truly his form is the timewarp that people have been speaking of, for he is still producing utterly mesmerising performances that belie his advanced years.

The most remarkable thing of all is that he is still playing wonderful ball and showing critics who wrote him off in seasons past that he is still of sufficient class and skill in his twilight years as he was when he took the league by storm all those years ago during United's league campaign in '91-'92.

In fact, that season and the next saw him win PFA young player of the year twice in a row, though the agony of losing out to Leeds United in the title race would have taken the sheen off the first one.

Over the years his game has changed considerably from what it once was. His early years at Old Trafford saw him occasionally being put up front by Ferguson to win games that seemed destined for draws.

This occured perhaps most notably in the drought breaking season of '92-'93 when he got two in 10 minutes to deny Southampton a famous Old Trafford victory that would have seriously dented United's title hopes.

He was truly electrifying at times and it was during these years he was frequently compared to George Best, though the modesty of the man would invariably cause him to nip such comparisons in the bud.

Obviously this comparison was because of his lightning pace and phenomenal dribbling skills, which at the time they were witnessed in full flourish, make Cristiano Ronaldo's step overs look ridiculous.

A true exponent of foot coordinated skill, he still pulls out a move every now and again that takes many United fans back to the early years of his tenure. A notable instance was during last season's West Ham away game when he danced inside the defense to slot a goal that was vital to the Manchester sides premiership victory.

Another exceptional thing is how he has performed in United's two most recent victories, over Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. He has stepped up once again to shoulder the weight of being United's fulcrum again, inspiring his teammates with consummate ease, as he literally tears apart opposition sides with cultured and precise passing that puts many of the world's more highly rated central midfielders to shame.

Ferguson could never take the contribution of the Welsh wizard for granted and as has been seen by his continued faith in him he never has.

At 36 years old, his age is a talking point because when he is on the ball the years seem to melt off, making the obsession with youth of today's game seem laughable. 

It can be seen for all who wish to witness that he still makes the difficult seem easy, with true inimitable talent and is one who surely deserves to join the likes of Law, Best, Cantona, Robson and Charlton as a true United Legend.

With the season still only in its early stages it will be magnificent to see how Giggs carries on, for he has already shown that he is more than capable of still teaching a team of upstarts a lesson in how to play football.

Mark "Sparky" Hughes would have been no doubt seriously worried about the impact his former club and international team-mate would have on the match.

No longer the boy wonder, he is now a grizzled veteran, a wily campaigner who senses weakness and exploits it with precision that has been garnered through years of sensational success and at times heart-breaking failure.

Unlike many who have gone before him in the EPL, he is still playing wonderful football despite his advancing years, a testament to his drive and determination to always be the best.

If you fancy a chance to slip back in time any time soon, I suggest catching a United game and seeing Giggs holding court, dodging tackles, slipping passes, whipping crosses and slotting goals, it seems to be the same as it ever was and for someone who grew up with him as a far off hero, it is magic to see.

So here's too Giggsy, a bonafide United legend and also the real reason United won against City, because he simply played to the final whistle, as every player always should.