Are the United "Old Boys" still capable of producing the goods at the top?

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent ISeptember 25, 2008

As a diehard Manchester United fan it is hard to come to terms with such great players that I have grown up watching and admiring, coming to the late autumn of their careers.  As every English football fan will know the famous "Class of '92" will live forever as one of the greatest influx of talent into the Manchester United first team squad of all time.  The likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Keith Gillespie, Robbie Savage and David Beckham.  Now that over half have moved to different clubs only three remain.  They are all in their thirties now and with less and less appearances available to them the question that has been talked about is that, are they still able to produce the goods?  This also goes for our current "number one", Edwin Van Der Sar.

Ryan Giggs

This man can be considered to be one of Manchester United's all-time greats.  The clubs leading appearance maker with 764 appearances and counting has been a stalwart in the United line-up for over seventeen years.  However, he is no longer the player he once was.  With age catching up with him and no longer being able to use that blistering pace that terrorised countless defences across the world, can Giggs still cut it at the top?

Well, I believe that at the end of next season he should retire and become part of the coaching staff, like what they have done with another United legend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.  This would help our young batch of talented players coming through the youth system at the moment deal with all the pressures of being a Premiership football player and how to be a true professional.  I believe he should step aside and let Nani become the main left midfielder to help his development and hopefully see some improvement from him.  However, he still has something to give for the next few seasons and could easily become an impact player in a big game or be used from the start for experience in the Carling Cup, FA Cup or even the Champions League (when facing much less opposition).  However, on the basis on recent performances, he is low on form and if it should not improve he should retire and be remembered as a United legend that will never be forgotten.

Paul Scholes

In my opinion, the most underrated player of all time.  He has the ability to pass and shoot from any position with ease and control the tempo of the game.  I believe that he still can cut it at the top.  He might need to play around twenty five games a season to keep his fitness up and be able to withstand the demands of a season but nevertheless he is still a top player.  However, I believe that if he wishes to join Oldham, United should let him go as a reward for being a great servant for the club.

Gary Neville

The Club captain and one of the best right backs ever to play the game.  I will keep this one short and sweet.  If he can stay injury free he can keep going for another two or three seasons.  However, one more long term injury and he will probably need to retire.  Having only just come back from injury I can’t judge him on recent performances so we shall all have to wait and see.

Edwin Van Der Sar

Our current number one has been a top goalkeeper for many top clubs throughout Europe but recently has been awful and if this keeps up we will either have to give a chance to Kuszczak or Foster or maybe buy a top goalkeeper from another club.  After Liverpool and Chelsea games, his decisions on the pitch have been questionable.  Without a doubt he has been our best 'keeper since Schmeichel.  He gave us stability in that position where we haven’t had it in a long time with other goalkeepers such as Taibi, Bosnich and Barthez.  I applaud what he has done at United but I think this should be his last season as we cannot afford constant mistakes when we are going for all four titles this season.

Overall, all of these players have been great servants for this great club but there time is coming to an end and Fergie may want to get in some new blood to replace them to make a fresh challenge for the title.  However, we should do this slowly as we will be going through a transitional period at the club and we may not get as much success as we might want.