Why the Old Guard Should Stay at Manchester United for Another Season

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Why the Old Guard Should Stay at Manchester United for Another Season
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Throughout Sir Alex Ferguson's 24-year reign as manager of Manchester United, there have been many players that have come and gone, but have left a strong, lasting impact for United that continues to be felt today.

From Eric Cantona to David Beckham and Ruud Van Nistelrooy to Cristiano Ronaldo, these players have found their star at Old Trafford under Ferguson before moving to greener pastures elsewhere (or in Cantona's case, retirement).

But through all of this, there have been three players that have become legends for Manchester United during Fergie's reign as the manager of the Red Devils.

Since the early 1990s, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, and Paul Scholes have become three of the greatest players that have ever played for Manchester United, and they are probably some of the last players to ever spend an entire career at one club.

They were the second wave of "Fergie's Fledglings," and throughout the years, these three players have seen everything unfold at Old Trafford.

From winning the Champions' League twice, to numerous Premier League titles, to changes in ownership and expansions to Old Trafford, these players have seen everything happen to Manchester United over the last 20 years.

But of course, all great things must come to an end, and now that Manchester United have found themselves eliminated from the Champions' League on away goals to Bayern Munich, once again there are calls for the "Old Guard" to step down.

And even now, the careers of Neville and Scholes could be finished in just six weeks when the season ends.

But to me, I believe that these three greats should stay at Manchester United for at least one more year.

Here's why:

 

1. They have beaten adversity before

Throughout their time with Manchester United, Giggs, Scholes and Neville have all faced adversary before.

From Alan Hansen famously quipping in 1995 "you'll never win anything with kids," to failing to succeed in Europe during the first half of the 2000's, these three have seen it all, and were able to successfully defeat these claims.

By once again defeating the people who claim that United will not succeed with these three players at their age, their legacies will be intact in the way that they were always able to prove people wrong and achieve greatness.

 

2. There is still unfinished business to do

Ever since these three started to play for Manchester United in the early 1990s, Manchester United have accumulated more trophies over a 20 year span than any other time in their history.

With this in mind, there are two significant trophies that these two will want to win again before they retire:  A 19th League title (beating Liverpool's record of 18), and to win yet another Champions' League.

Certainly, Manchester United will want to finish the job and get those trophies by the end of next season, but nothing is ever secure in football, and next season will be the time for the Red Devils to accomplish those two goals.

 

3. They have something else to teach us

It is very rare for a footballer (outside of the goalkeeper position) to be playing in the Premier League at the ages of 36 and 35, but that is what we have here in this situation, as these three players know that it is up to them to teach the younger generation.

These three players come around once in a lifetime, and with players such as Nani, Daniel Gibson and Rafael, (among others) coming up, it is up to Giggs, Scholes and Neville to teach these players the proper way to play football.

If they could do that, Manchester United will be set for many future seasons as a side that will be able to continue their greatness.

 

4. It would not be fitting to see these players go out this way

Right now, it appears that Manchester United will not win any more trophies this year, as Chelsea will probably win the Premier League, and of course, United are out of the Champions League and the FA Cup.

But to me, none of the three players should go out in this way.

I do believe that each of the three has something else to teach us, and that is that they were true winners from the beginning of their careers until the end.

And with the 2011 Champions League final being at Wembley Stadium, I can definitely see Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville all end their careers with their third Champions League title.

 

Now it is time for you, the reader to tell me what you think:

Should the Old Guard stay for another season, or is it time for the three to hang up their boots for good?

Please tell me in the comment thread below.

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