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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Giggs still looking ahead

Having only just penned a new one-year contract extension, Ryan Giggs is already looking to further prolong his stay at Old Trafford.

The veteran winger, who turns 34 next month, has extended his current deal until June 2009, and is hoping to play his way into a further elongation next season and beyond.

"We said a couple of years ago when I signed the last contract that we’d look at it year by year which is what we’ve done," Giggs told MUTV immediately after signing his new deal.

"I’m obviously delighted to get it sorted out. I can just concentrate on the football now. I had just under a year to go and now I’ve signed a year’s extension. Hopefully there will be a couple more."

Giggs made his United debut in 1991, but he insists his appetite for the game has not diminished despite over 16 years of sustained success.

"I think a lot’s changed in 16 years," he said. "But I’m enjoying more football more than ever. The nearer you get to the end, you try and enjoy it as much as you can. At 18 or 19, you think it’s going to go on forever and obviously it doesn’t.

"I’m enjoying it, we’ve got a great team at the moment. Obviously winning the Premier League last year was a great buzz for everyone and hopefully we can do it again.

"I feel as fit as ever and I’m enjoying it as much as ever as I’ve just said so hopefully I can go on a bit longer."


Gill salutes a loyal legend

After securing a deal to take Ryan Giggs into his second decade at Old Trafford, Chief Executive David Gill admits the veteran winger should be regarded as a club legend in years to come.

In addition to Giggs' sustained on-field brilliance, Gill was keen to note the Welshman's influence as a role model during his trophy-laden time at Old Trafford - a combination which ensures he is held in the highest regard throughout football.

“You would have thought (he will be regarded as a legend) for his trophy haul, and his 727 games already under his belt with many more to come," Gill told MUTV. "But it’s not only for what he’s achieved, it’s also how he’s achieved it.

"Quite rightly he’s got respect throughout the game, not only in this country but around the world. He clearly excites fans all over the globe with the way he plays the game but also I think everyone can recognise he is a true gentleman, a true ambassador for this great game and this great club.

"I think in the modern-day game, someone who’s loyal to the club, plays from being a junior right through to senior ranks, he’s won 18 trophies and he’s done it all - it’s very important. I’m sure through Ryan a lot of knowledge and information is passed down through the ranks which is invaluable."

With both parties keen to extend Giggs' tenure at United, Gill admits negotiations were particularly easy - and he hopes that such talks take place many more times before the 33-year-old decides to call time on his glittering career.

“It wasn’t the most difficult of negotiations," revealed Gill. "Ryan’s been with us for many, many years, he’s a great player for this club and a great ambassador. We were delighted to secure his services until June 2009 at the earliest.

“As you can see, he’s fit, he looks after himself, he looks fantastic and we judge it by what he’s doing on the pitch for Manchester United and he’s clearly producing the goods week in, week out.

“I think Ryan recognises what the club has done for him – we’ve looked after him – but he’s clearly done fantastic things for the club. I think that loyalty is something that is quite rightly recognised within the club and with all our supporters around the world as a fantastic asset in the game today.

“We obviously want him to stay, to play and to contribute for many more years to come.”


Reds face fight at Villa

United will have a fight on their hands if they are to take three points from Aston Villa this weekend, according to Villans midfielder Craig Gardner.

Martin O'Neill's side have won four of their first five home matches this season - including a 2-0 triumph over Chelsea - and United face a hard task in extending their fine record at Villa Park.

"Villa Park isn't an easy place for teams to come," Gardner told the Birmingham Mail. "I'm sure Chelsea came here thinking they were going to get all three points and we won 2-0.

"Nobody will come here and stroll to the points. We'll give teams a game and we'll put up a fight. We've got that 'never say die' attitude now under Martin O'Neill.

"Even if we go 1-0 down, we have the character to bounce back and that's a good thing to have."

Gardner has been carrying a slight groin injury of late, but the England U21 international is desperate to be fit for United's visit.

"It's a game I really don't want to miss," he said. "Man U at home is one of the biggest, if not the biggest game of the season, so I'm determined to be fit and it would be nice to be a part of the team that plays against United.

"These are the games no player wants to miss. You want to go out there and perform in front of over 40,000 and you want to play against the likes of Ronaldo, Rooney, Giggs - what more can you ask for?"