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Giggs: This Is The Best Team I’ve Played In

Ryan Giggs has won ten English league titles, more than any of player in the history of the game, but he hasn’t finished yet. With United favourites to win the league this season and a contract extension on the cards, it is possible that Giggs could hang up his boots with twelve league titles to his name, three more than any other player.

He has shared a changing room with the likes of Bryan Robson, Mark Hughes, Roy Keane, Eric Cantona and David Beckham in the past, but believes this current side is the best we’ve had.

“Last year, we won the Champions League and the Premier League, and we won them in great style,” said. “But to talk of a great team, you need six or seven consecutive years of dominance. This side is good enough to do that, because all our young players can improve. Basically, I think this year we have the best United team ever.”

Giggs emphasises the point that whilst any trophy will be welcomed, the defence of the Premiership always takes priority.

“With United, the goal is to win a third consecutive Premier League title,” he added. “In the Champions League, we already realise it will be extra hard to protect our crown, as all our rivals would love to knock out the holders of the trophy. At the moment, the title race comes first, because it’s the domestic league. It’s the ultimate test. To finish top after 38 games is amazing. Then comes the Champions League. But in every competition, many different factors come into play: taking your chances, coming into form at the right time and having a bit of luck. All title challengers benefit from luck in a season. But in the end, only one team can claim the trophy.”

Is this our best team ever?


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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38 Comments

  1. gingerprince says:

    I don’t know …I would rather win it 4 times then defend our league title….but then there’s the incentive of getting our 18th title……..a repeat of last season would be just fine!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Mark Moore says:

    Yes if it can win the league two more times with another cl thrown in

  3. DinoTheDog says:

    This is the sort of thing footballers say every year, but it is slightly interesting that Giggs would say this about a team he clearly is no longer the star of. Someone with a larger ego (or perhaps more to prove) would have picked a team with himself in his prime.

  4. cherry says:

    For me every season; the domestic title ranks number one. I dont know why i am so obsess with it. Yeah, the CL is cool to win but to finish 1st after such a marathon of games is really amazing. We have what we call MAN.UTD night here in Freetown. It’s really fantastic. The night of the last day of the league is reserved for Man.U fan in one of our most popular pubs here. I can’t wait for that day to come. Maybe Scot or any one here would like to witness it in may. You would be more than welcome.
    Premier League firts, FA cup second and then the Champions League.

    I really have missed the FA cup. Please united win the FA cup this season. Atleast for my sake.

  5. King Eric says:

    Guess it must be if thats what Giggsy says. Played with some superb talent as Scott says but squadwise in my opinion this is by far the strongest I have seen in 30 years of watching United.

  6. denton davey says:

    Interesting comment:

    Is Edwin better than Schmeichel ?

    Is the back four better than the mid-90s quartet ?

    Is the midfield better than 1999 ?

    Is the collection of attacking players the best ever ?

    Best star players ?

    Squad depth ?

    Team Chemistry ?

    Only the manager has remained the same – and Ryan Giggs. They have both said the same thing about this squad being the best team ever – and if you break down those categories listed above, it is clear that this keeper and midfield are not “the best ever” BUT the cumulative ranking would give this group the nod. AND, this team is only going to get better as some of the kiddies become young, tested professionals while the youngsters like Ronaldo, Fletcherinho, Rooney, and Tevez still haven’t reached their top level.

  7. Wiggsman says:

    EVS – Nope

    Defence – Yes

    MIDFIELD – Nope

    Attack – Yes

    No doubt our LB and CD’s are better we’re in a league where there’s much more attacking threat than 99 and out defence rocks

    Scholes, Keane, Giggs, Beckham in 99 were prime and nobody was getting in ahead of them – now we have a greater collective of players, but we dont have a consistent starting 4 right now.

    Upfront – whilst I loved the 4 guys we had, I just think that Rooney/Tevez/Ronaldo/Berba are better all round and when they click – its over

  8. denton davey says:

    While I online, I should mention a terrific article/blog in TheGuardianUnlimited (online version) about “the demise of the goal poacher”. Excellent comments, too.

    The comment that caught my eye – because I agree with it, of course – concerned that Michael Owen could play at UTD; he’d score a shitload of goals if he would accept a role as the “new 2OLEgend”, situational substitute.

    I’ve banged on a lot about the lack of “AN ALTERNATIVE’ to the current 4-6-0 formation – a big banger like Duncan Ferguson or the Czech manster, Jan Koller, would be one option; a little poacher like Fillipo Inzaghi or Mikey Owen would be another.

    Either way, a little variety in the attack would do wonders against teams that park-the-bus. Getting wonder strikes like Nani provided the other night against Derby is a less reliable tactic than having a weasel-in-the-box.

  9. Stephen says:

    Mate it is a decent point but Owen wearing a United shirt wouldn’t sit well with me and a lot of other fans, and could you really see Fergie buying him?

  10. micheal says:

    Wiggsman

  11. Jake says:

    whose this ‘Mikey Owen’ you seem to love denton? Is it the injury plagued 30 yr old former Liverpool hero Michael Owen that I’m thinking of? Surely not, the transfer has never been close and never will be…I understand the goal poacher argument but I have to say I disagree because I think given time Berbatov/Rooney/Tevez can fill that role between them…Van Nistelrooy did my head in by the end and I think the strikers should do a little more, it’s asking a lot but I think we’ve proved since he’s gone that it’s more than possible and can be very effective…and will continue to be very effective…I personally think against park-the-bus teams we should play Ronaldo on the right Carrick and someone else in midfield, Berbatov up front with Tevez or Rooney switching between stiker and left wing when all fit…I think Rooney (like Henry) can be top on the left as can tevez and their working back is great…but definitely not Michael Owen or Jan Koller…

  12. micheal says:

    Wiggsman
    I disagree on a phew of your points, vds or schmeicheal the great dane just nicks it becuase he could make an ordinary defence look better then it actually was, and he made so many crucial saves, they were has big has a winning goal, but the midfield and attack of 1999 was special, it was a much better all round front six, and this is why.
    this is their tally in their best seasons

    keane 12
    scholes 20
    beckham 12
    giggs 17

    in my eyes this is the real fantastic four, they would get united in total and are worth when they hit their highest goals tally 61 goals. the current midifeld is nowhere near that tally and this is a very special midfield four.

    yorke 30
    cole 32
    solkjaer 25
    sheringham 21

    a strike force that was a one off, and like above when they hit their peak forms they would get united in total 108 goals, a ruthless attack that did not waste many chances what let united down in later season’s was the one area we have now which is special, the defence and a quality GK, put united’s 1999 midfield and attack with the current united defence and the bookies may is well pay out for united winning the league.

    the current united midfield and attack at the moment has not proved to be better then united’s 99 attack, united have a bigger squad then 99 by a distance but the 1999 squad had better balance and they had more veriaty in their play going forward, dont forget the 99/00 side scored in total 97 goals.

  13. Costas says:

    Everyone will mention of course the 99 team,but for me personally the best first XI we have ever had were the class of 94:
    Schmeichel-Parker,Pally,Bruce,Irwin-Kanchelskis,Keane,Ince,Giggsy-Cantona,Hughes.This team was unbeteable on it’s day.In terms of depth of squad,this team is probably the best.

  14. Wiggsman says:

    Michael – we’re in agreement except for the strike attack – as a consistent starting 11, i dont think any Man U team will beat the 99 one, but in units and squad this team has the potential to becoem the greatest – if they do the double again hard to argue with then

  15. micheal says:

    Wiggsman
    I don’t want to harp back on to berbetov again, but every time he is not in the united team united seem to start smashing the goal, ronaldo yes rooney yes tevez yes but berbetov nope, I just think our attack in 1999 on form is more ruthless and exiting and had better balance and had verity and depth, look at Forrest 4 1 ahead united stick on solkjaer and he bangs in 4 goals in 30 minutes to win 8-1, fa cup semi final yorke cole rested solkaer sheringham play. yes they are great names currently, but potential is a maybe, the 1999 attack I would still choose over the current united attack.

    I would swoop yorke and cole for rooney and tevez in the long term because of their age but yorke and cole has a team put the ball in the back of the net insanely and were fluid. I would even say scholes and giggs maybe beckham I would put has forward players because they set up goals and scored them is well. so really United’s fire power back then is scholes beckham giggs yorke cole solkjaer sheringham in combined total of goals 169 goals are you sure the current attack is better, 99/00 side was the best attacking united side since I have been watching them.

  16. Wiggsman says:

    Yea – its hard to argue with the stats, to have Ole and Teddy as your bench is amazing, I just look at Rooney and Ronnie (I include him upfront) are far better than Yorke and Cole and prob have more goals per game for manutd, Tevez and Berba the verdict is slightly out.

    For me bottom line is that I do think:

    PS
    GN JS RJ DI
    DB PS RK RG
    DY AC

    Is a better starting 11 than
    EVS
    ? RF NV PV
    CR ? MC ?
    WR DB

    The ? are there because we havent had anyone really nail the spots down.
    But like I said – this team/squad will be hailed as the best if they repeat the double – which no other team in history has done

    UTD UTD

  17. King Eric says:

    Then you have to take into account the central defensive pairing of Bruce and Pallister. Although as a full defensive unit I would have to go with Nev, Vid, Rio and Pat.

    Wiggsman with the centre half initials of RJ I take it you are referring to Ronny Johnsen? I would never include him in my strongest team to be honest. Also I would have Rooney in my strongest United team everyday of the week. Can’t argue with the stats of Cole and Yorkie but I just think over the next few years Rooney and Berba will surpass them. Definately agree with the midfield though. THE best balanced midfield in years!

  18. Wiggsman says:

    Well RJ was our CH that year, not as good as RF or NV but that was the defence and it was pretty decent. 11 v 11 99 is just more sexy – this team could be the best.

    Imagine our rock defence – infront of them, Hargo, Anderson and MC with Ronnie and Rooney and Berba when they click. Even have Tevez on left like Ole used to do on the right in 99 and 00

  19. micheal says:

    Costas
    the 1994 side is a good shout in terms of men and leaders on the field, I have always said this the last time united had two wide players in one side that would ripe sides apart with their brutal pace and direction was 1994, but united had three outstanding wide players back then, giggs sharpe and kanchelskis who Andrei I would rate far better the beckham.

    Wiggsman
    im not taking anything away from the current united side, but what made the 1999 side so unlucky are a phew things why they did not go forward.

    1 the 99 GK and defence were never improved and it was a big chance to sign VDS and maybe sol Campbell because berg may Johnson were not great and stam was picking up injuries, add schmeicheal’s departure it left a gigantic hole in United’s backline.

    2 that 1999 season was so breathtaking in terms of drama excitment making your jaw drop in saying we are seeing before our very eyes a season that was like over the top hollywood script and basically history being made, the player’s had done so much that season that to do it all over again was asking too much. Yes 2008 was great it had its 99 moments but that season it probably took a hell of a lot out of the player’s physically and mentally to ask them do it all over again, especially the teams like juventus barcelona inter bayern arsenal chelsea to deal with who were powerful talented sides.

    3 the european cup during that time was the strongest it ever been, look at bayern juventus real madrid barcelona the milan clubs lazio florentino roma valencia and many more, they were all on top of their game with the big players being signed at the tme and with probably the 1999 hang over and a weakened defence it was no surprise they did not improve. Compare today I can only think of Barcelona and inter who are at united’s level who are probably at their strongest at the moment the rest are not at their best and they don’t look to get any better.

  20. Wiggsman says:

    Go on then you win!!!

  21. micheal says:

    lol

  22. Tonka Norris says:

    Giggs isn’t one to chuck in empty comments. Maybe he sees in training what we’ve yet to see in a game. This is a team that still hasn’t stayed in top gear for more than 15 minutes. But we’re top of the PL and still chasing the pots. I just await the time the team finally turns it on. Going to be awesome!

  23. Wiggsman says:

    Is that the same training where Veron was the best player Keane had seen in years

  24. klauq says:

    There are too much to be argued about but it is an interesting argument nevertheless..

    To me, I would also choose the 99 squad as the best team ever, in fact i’m still looking for the answer for SAF and Giggsy’s claim on this is the best team ever.

    There is not much difference to me, only the depth of the squad is perhaps the biggest difference. I think the quality of the squad overall is a little bit better because overall we have better reserves than the 99. Today we are not even missing Hargreaves because the other players are doing so well.

    And then, 99 was more like the pioneer. They are the first team to win the ECL of the new generations, whilst this team have benefited from the experience of several of 99′s players. What i’m trying to say here is, the 99 was tougher because they have to make the mentality breakthru’. Then, like Michael said, the other teams in 99 was way better than they are today, like Real, Juve, Bayern, even Ajax, etc…

  25. Costas says:

    You know it’s funny.The 99 team did win the treble but in terms of results they won just over have of their games(36 out of 63).The best United team as far as results and attacking football is concerned is the 2000 one.What i mean by that is the United team that played the second half of the 99-00 and the fist half of the 00-01 seasons.That team was a well oiled machine with the midfield fab 4 at the best form of their careers and with 4 strikes interchanging with similar results.Fergie did a masterful job there.But he has also done an exceptional job this year.He has built a team of 24 players who are equal.It’s the first season in years that you can’t pick a best XI simply because there are too many good players.In that sense Giggsy is right.Of course when you don’t have an established first XI your attacking play suffers a bit because you can’t olay automatically but that is counter balanced by our superb defense.

  26. North Stand,Tier 3,Back Row says:

    Lads, ye can go on all ye like about the 99 team and the current squad, but ye are all missing the bigger picture…. Will ye look at the state of Giggs suit? Thats a fucking disgrace!!!!

  27. miele says:

    Omigod at first I thought the stripes were part of the furniture, lol!

  28. Stephen says:

    Ha Ha it was a rascal mate, didn’t (Judas) Ince have one similar?

  29. Ricardo says:

    Hmm, all this “best team” makes me think, who can imagine our worst team in the Fergie era as I think I’ve forgotten the best duds !

    Taibi, Kleberson Djemba-Djemba, Cruffy, Dublin, O’Shea :-)

  30. Ricardo says:

    That’s Cruffy as in Jordi. Oh … Spotty Chadwick ?

  31. North Stand,Tier 3,Back Row says:

    Its like the suit Stevie Mee will be wearing when he gets found guilty and locked up for a little stint. I see he pleaded not guilty today, so he got bail and its been put back to March 20th, a week after he comes to The Theatre…

  32. North Stand,Tier 3,Back Row says:

    Thats harsh on Dublin Ricardo, he was very unlucky to get injured so soon into his time at United. He scored a very imporant late goal at The Dell to get our first win that season, and has since proved to be a very handy player wherever he went.
    As for OShea, very harsh aswell. Fergie isnt gonna give a bad player that many games, and keep renewing his contract. And on top of that, the lad scored the winner in injury time in front of the Kop to almost seal the league, enough said…

  33. Ricardo says:

    NS – totally agree with you over O’Shea. But, everybody else seems to knock him. Personally, I think we’d be a lot worse off without the likes of O’Shea playing week in week out wherever there is (and there always seems to be) a hole.

    And now Fletcherino will be playing RB again tomorrow … another thumbs up for me for the boy from Dalkeith.

  34. Stephen says:

    O’shea in the worst side, Bellion, Prunier, Milne and Colin/Terry Gison must be in there.

  35. King Eric says:

    Stephen: Fat Terry Gibson, forgot about that legend.

  36. North Stand,Tier 3,Back Row says:

    Also in OSheas defence, he had a superb debut season when we won the league, he was class back then. So while his career mightn’t have gone the way we would of hoped, or assumed, the lad cannot be put into Fergies worst team ever, not by a long way…

  37. Wiggsman says:

    Andy Gorum???

  38. King Eric says:

    North Stand: Agree about O Shea, no way can you put him in the worst team. He is never gonna pull up any trees but he is a good solid performer. A very useful utility player to have in our squad.

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