O'Shea: Giggs has surpassed Maldini
John O'Shea has claimed Ryan Giggs could still be playing at 40. Although the anniversary did not go as planned, with Manchester United losing in controversial fashion at Chelsea last night, Giggs has now completed 20 years as a first-team player.
It is a quite astonishing feat in a time when big-name stars move on with increasing regularity and contracts are not worth the paper they are written on. And even though many of Giggs' team-mates have been around Old Trafford for some considerable time themselves, they are lost in admiration for the 37-year-old.
And, having signed a one-year contract extension earlier this year, O'Shea feels Giggs could carry on for at least another three years. "Without a doubt," said the Republic of Ireland star. "His physical shape hasn't changed since I've known him and he looks after himself so well.
"Depending on injuries he could easily carry on, although I am sure he just wants to take it one season at a time. He is just enjoying it so much at the minute so I can't see why he can't but I'll let him decide on that."
If nothing else, last night's game allowed Giggs to equal Sir Bobby Charlton's record of 606 league appearances, another record in addition to the scores the Welshman already has. Indeed, in the modern era, the only player O'Shea can think of that is remotely comparable is recently-retired Italian legend Paolo Maldini.
"You see how the manager has built squads and Giggsy has been a vital part of every single one of them," he said. "It's just incredible. Maldini springs to mind with AC Milan but I think Giggsy has even gone past him.
"The speed and the balance he still shows to go past whether it be an old, experienced defender or a new, up-and-coming young strong defender is incredible. Every cliche in the book has been used about the man already and I am sure they will be said many times again. He is an absolute legend."