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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Giggs: Ole's still got it

Ryan Giggs insists Ole Gunnar Solskjaer changed the game when he came off the bench against Espanyol in his testimonial on Saturday.

Sir Alex introduced the 35-year-old Norwegian in the 68th minute and Giggs says he saw instant results.

“As soon as he came on he created a few chances for himself,” Ryan told MUTV. “The goalkeeper pulled off an unbelievable save. We weren’t creating anything until he came on but he got us playing and we created those chances. He’s still got it.”

Giggs said Solskjaer was one of the most intelligent forwards he ever played with.

“He was a dream for a winger like myself because I always knew where he’d be. You could put the ball in the box and know Ole would be in there, finishing it off. He’s a dream to play with and so much more than a ‘super sub’.”

“He’s been fantastic ever since he came over from Norway in 1996.

"The fans turned out today to show their appreciation for what he did for this club.

“There were a few times during his career when he could have moved, when he wasn’t getting as much football as he perhaps would have liked.

“But he always stayed and always made sure he was ready to come on and change the game. He was a top, top player for this club.”

Paul Scholes was similarly gushing in his praise for the striker, who was forced to retire in August 2007 after news he would require another operation on his damaged knee.

“If anyone deserves a testimonial it’s Ole,” he said.

Ole Speech after Testimonial Match

When the final whistle blew at Old Trafford on Saturday, an emotional Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took to the microphone to address Manchester United fans.

This is the full transcript of what he had to say:

“Thank you, thanks. I’ve had more than a year to think about this and it’s not getting any easier.

“I knew this was going to be my last game at Old Trafford and today you’ve been absolutely fantastic again. You’re the best supporters in the world.

“I’d like to thank Espanyol, who came over here and made a good game out of it. It was a good run-out for our boys.

"It’s a very important season for us and it was important that they got a good game.

“Next, I’d like to thank the manager. He’s been absolutely fantastic with me.

"He has guided me through my career – I’ve had my highs, I’ve also had my lows, and he supported me very well through that time.

"I can’t thank him enough. I’m going into coaching and if I haven’t learnt from him than I can’t do coaching. So thank you, boss.

“The players… I’ve played with the best players in the world. It’s easy being a forward when you play with these players. They create chances for you – you miss one, you get another one.

"I can’t say thanks enough to them – they’ve made every minute here a special one for me. And the last 25 here, I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

"It’s something my family, myself and all my friends will remember. It’s been a special day.

"Thanks to all the staff who have supported me, who have helped me through dark periods. Most of all to the supporters – you’ve been absolutely fantastic, you kept me going.

"And I’ve got the three loveliest kids in the world and a lovely wife. I’d like to thank them as well.

"Thanks, thank you very much.”

Ferdinand backs 'awesome' Rooney to sparkle

Rio Ferdinand has backed his Manchester United and England team-mate Wayne Rooney to step out of Cristiano Ronaldo's shadow and terrorise defences across the continent this season.

The 22-year-old was forced to take a supporting role last season as the Portuguese winger's 42 goals made him very much the leading man at Old Trafford.

Red Devils manager Sir Alex Ferguson has already admitted this summer that Rooney's development has been hampered by the need to play him out of position at times since his big-money move from Everton in 2004.

However Ferdinand, United's captain last season in the absence of Gary Neville, believes the Liverpudlian's contribution to the team has been under-rated.

And if Ferguson makes good on his vow to play Rooney in his favoured position more often from now on, the centre-half is confident the striker will soon be the main man.

'We've got to wait to see what will happen in the transfer market with regard to signing a new striker, but what Wayne did last season was staggering,' Ferdinand told The People.

'He had to take the responsibility of leading the line on his shoulders and he was awesome.'

He added: 'He played out of position a lot. He played on the left and sacrificed himself so many times for the team.

'I know the manager wants to see Wayne playing in his more accustomed position, just off the front.

'Maybe that will happen if we sign a striker and then you'll see how dangerous he can be.'