Manchester United fans will be watching their legend Ryan Giggs for another 18 months after he recently signed a new contract. However his boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes the Welshman can carry on beyond summer 2009.
That would see Giggs pass his 36th birthday and most likely pass Sir Bobby Charlton as United’s all-time highest appearance-maker.
“We hope Ryan can play for even longer [than the end of his new contract],” said Sir Alex.
“He's looked after himself and is an example of professionalism.
“I signed him when he was 14, so he’s coming up for his twentieth year at the club, that’s only a year less than me.
"It’s absolutely phenomenal that he’s been running up and down the wing for such a long time. It’s amazing.
“He could only have done it by looking after himself and following the procedures of a professional footballer - training properly and living the right lifestyle.
"You very rarely hear gossip about Ryan in the newspapers, he’s never been a high-flyer.”
The Red Devils have always looked after long-standing ex-pro’s, often finding roles for them at the club like youth coach Brian McClair.
And Ferguson insisted that he will look to Giggs to carry on after his retirement in a similar coaching capacity,
“It’s our intention that he will stay on at the club,” added Sir Alex.
“Players like Ryan, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have played all of their football lives here.
“Ryan is not showing an inclination to stay in the coaching at the moment. But I think all players should prepare to become a coach.
"Some players don’t want to stay in the game. Many great players have been the same. But then, all of a sudden, it comes to walking out the door and they have to ask where they are going. "
They end up falling back into the game.
"I’ve had several players here that have said they’d never be a manager in a million years. But then I hear different and I find myself giving them the call and saying, ‘welcome to hell’.
"It’s difficult. You maybe don’t want to be a manager. But you’ve had a great playing career and you don’t want to miss the drug.
"They miss the Saturday morning feeling. That’s what does it for them.”
I've never known United without Giggs and the longer the better.