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Does Giggs Deserve A New Contract?

Ryan Giggs has been receiving a hammering from his own fans recently, just as talk of him renewing his contract has come about. I read comments from Giggs in the MEN on Friday (which referred to Giggs as the winger who had eight Premiership titles to his name. Where have they been?) and whilst I want him to stay on, and sign an extension, I wonder how much of that desire springs from sentimentality.

Ferguson has today spoken out about Giggsy’s future, claiming it is certain the winger will still be with us next season, and could break Sir Bobby’s appearance record by the end of the season. “He will not play every game for us this season but he will be here next season, that is for certain. He could even catch Bobby before the end of May.”

Football fans are very fickle, and the moment Giggs plays a lazy flick which lands nowhere near a player in red, you’ll hear reds screaming for him to get off. “He’s a load of shit, that Giggsy” they’ll moan in the local. This season, yeh, I’d say that is a pretty fair assessment, Giggsy has been a load of shit, but I struggle, like a lot of reds, to say too much against the man.

My dad reckons that Giggs has lost his hunger for football, and I hate to say that I am slowly starting to agree with him. Towards the end of last season, Giggs really looked to be struggling, and when you’re 33 and playing twice a week, you can expect the haggard look. But after a summer off, and more recently, an international break, Giggs doesn’t look to be any more fresh.

Too many times we’re seeing Giggs give a way the ball in such a lethargic manner, not tracking back with the vigour he should, and giving up far too easily all over the field. Too many times, whether on his arse or stood with his arms flung out, Giggs is stopping and turning to the ref. “Don’t you know who I am? I’ve won the league nine times, now give me a free kick for being second to the ball.”

My frustration is added to by his lacklustre efforts as the captain. I loved seeing Giggs and Neville lifting the trophy together last season, and that will be such an iconic and moving photograph in ten, fifteen, twenty years time. However, Giggs is no captain, and like I said in my article, Rio Ripe For Demotion, it’s time the armband was given to someone else.

Giggs needs to have that fight and hunger put back in him, and maybe we could see that if he was dropped for a period of time. Whilst we can’t expect to see him playing the way he did ten years ago, for large chunks of last season he looked as good as ever. His strengths are not the same as they were, as there will be a lot of full backs who are able to cut out his runs these days, and who beat him for pace, but new strengths have developed with his experience. However, we’re not seeing those strengths at the moment, and it only seems logical that Ronaldo and Nani man our wings until Giggs sorts his head out.

Clearly, he wants to be a United player, and after taking a cut in wages to sign a two year deal last time, we have no reason to question his loyalty or feelings about playing in our shirt. However, he does seem to have a certain nonchalance in regards to the new contract. “We trust each other, which comes from 15 or 16 years in the first team. I don’t think I need to play well in specific games otherwise I won’t be offered a contract. Generally speaking, if I am doing well, everything else will take care of itself. You could easily get caught up in `I have only got a year left so I need to play well’ and put that added extra pressure on yourself. But the pressure playing for United in itself is enough you don’t want to put added pressure on.”

I have to disagree with him. He does need to be putting some pressure on himself, because clearly, his relaxed attitude is not producing the goods on the pitch. Whilst he is set to get a contract regardless of how he is playing at the moment, for the club, he needs to be putting on the pressure and needs to be playing well.

Any other 33 year old would maybe have to be worry about their future playing for the Champions if they were not playing well. Fortunately for Giggs, he isn’t just any other 33 year old, he is a 33 year old who has nine league titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, and one European Cup. He is close to featuring more heavily in our history books, with just a few appearances short of being the player to represent our club more than any other, and it is that which sets him apart.

Ryan Giggs is a Manchester United legend, and I don’t use that term lightly. He was my hero when I was a lad and whatever he does, however he plays, I’m going to love him. He’s had the kind of career modern professionals (and fans) can only dream about, and it’s going to take a really special player to ever rival him on ability, experience, loyalty and honours. Of course he deserves a contract extension, and of course he deserves our patience to come good again.

So next time you want to throttle Giggsy for giving the ball away, just remember all the great things he’s done for this club and how your life as a football fan has been improved by him. If you need a reminder, watch this…

What do you think of Giggs’ recent displays?

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Gopher Brown says:

    The main question to ask yourself when rating a player is ‘would I rather play with him or against him?’

    The Giggs at the end of the 2005/2006 season (when he had that surprisingly effective partnership with O’Shea in centre midfield) was superb. He was playing with real confidence and belief – stroking the ball about, playing good through-balls, etc. In September 2006, when Wales played Brazil at White Hart Lane, the Brazilian manager said that Giggs would walk into any team in the world, including his own, as he had such a good performance.

    About half-way through last season, however, I felt he was becoming ineffective and somewhat lazy, despite getting a place in the starting line-up each week. This season has started the same as he ended the last.

    You have to weigh up the consistancy of a good performance from him – which is becoming very rare – and his ability to pull a bit of magic out of nowhere – like his recent cross for Tevez.

    At the moment, I’d say keep him in the team, as the alternatives are frequently even less effective – Nani, Anderson, Eagles. On whether I’d prefer to play with him or against him, I think the jury is well and truly out.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Jonny F – Manchester -

    Don’t think it helps when he’s asked to play support striker, as he just can’t do it. But i’d still start him as a left winger, him and Evra work well together. And I love him anyways, cos he’s Giggsy.

  3. stevhill says:

    In answer to the original question the post asks (“Does he deserve a new contract?”), yes YES, absolutely yes!! Not just for sentimental reasons, and as recognition for all he’s done for the club and it’s fans – although surely that would be enough – but because he can still turn a match in a moment, he can play in several positions (with varying degrees of effectiveness) and his experience at the highest level will be invaluable to the less experienced players in fighting a war on 4 fronts (well, 3 now, but who’s counting).

    Does he deserve a place in the starting lineup? Not so emphatic, but still a Yes – for now. Certainly in the big matches anyway.

    Nani is good and the most promising (so far) of this summer’s signings. But Giggs should still be first choice IMHO. I agree with the comment that he should not be played as a support striker – if indeed a support striker has to be played. Play Giggs as a left winger, and when he tires of running down the wing, bring Nani on. Or start Nani, and use Giggs as the ultimate impact player – a role which I believe he, and indeed Scholes, should start to accept will become more often assigned to them.

  4. Bonbon says:

    Unfortunately, this clip is the best proof why Giggsy is not up to it anymore. I don’t remember when was the last time he made one of his trademark runs or made a successful dribble and cross. Having said this, I think his contract should be extended for he is a serviceable squad member, but he is just a pale shadow of his former self.

  5. Scott the Red says:

    Bonbon, pretty successful cross last weekend against Chelsea, to be fair eh? ;)

  6. AbuDavid says:

    Scott- it wasn’t just a cross mate, was a stunner mate, the kind of cross that needs to be put into the back of the net just to complete the move- sheer genius mate.. And of course he deserves a new contract. I personally think he should be pleyed a bit more spraingly and used as an impact sub or something akin.However at this moemnt in time with our squad suffering from some key absentees (Fletcher, Park, Hargreaves) and waiting on some players to find their feet (Nani, Anderson and Saha, yes Saha, still needs that four match run to get him mind and body right) which then necessitates the bad positioning of Giggs as a support striker and other. He’ll see out his days at United and will either do a Scholesy (coaching job) or take a break fomr United and football only to come back for us as an amabssador of some sort. He’s United through and through and that reel you added showed his goals against Juventus a few seasons back, I remember at the time there was talk of cashing in on him and some crappy United fans were banging on about it being the last opportunity to sell him on and I was like ‘How dare you???’ and he came on as a Sub, scored two goals and was substituted again and I though, hmmm, that’s Giggsy’s way of telling all the haters out there to get stuffed!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Those videos are misleading, however thrilling. As long as I can remember, well since about his third season anyway, people have been saying Giggs is either past it or he has failed to reach his full potential. Don;t forget the reason he pointed to his own name in celebration of the ggoal againstJuve, because everybody had been slagging him.

    The cross last week would have capped that video beautifully. It was stirring stuff. It won us the game as effectively as Mikel’s sending off.

    The fickleness of football fans, of every hue, staggers me.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Giggs will always be loved and l think he makes a good bench man to have and to be used as a utility player. He will take his badges before to long, which is the least that he deserves and he could be another one of Fergy’s managers that makes a success after playing.
    All in all he shouldn’t be in the starting line up to often as he hasn’t got it anymore but we still l ove him all the same :0)

  9. Paul Freeman says:

    Oh yes, give him a new contract.

    Giggs, in the last few years, seems to have some dips in form that reduces him to an average player. Ironically, the last time was about a year before contract renewal time, and then he produced his best form during contract negociations. But he always comes back to form.

    I simply think that at 33, he can’t do it week in, week out. Maybe the dips will be longer, but at least he can still do great stuff whilst in those dips.

    And we need him for another 2 years until Nani has chance to become the new Ronaldo :)

  10. brett says:

    ye he should be given a new contract i think he should be given a permanent contract that will only end when he retires. he hasnt got the legs any more to play week in week out but i think he should be played 1s every 2 or 3 games on the wing so he dosnt get as tired as much as he does playing behind the front men i think he would make a great coach for midfielders at united doing the same what ole is doing now


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