Giggs proves the answer to today’s problems at United
40-year-old played major role against Olympiakos
Ryan Giggs: The poser now is when will Moyes next include Giggs in the lineup.
The display Ryan Giggs turned in against Olympiakos proved the old truism about the finest players having more time than the rest.
How else to explain a 40-year-old running the show for Manchester United on an evening when the team’s season – and possibly David Moyes’s job – was on the line?
To be instrumental in both of Robin van Persie’s goals before the break, the second on the stroke of half-time to level the Champions League last 16 tie 2-2, illustrated the class of Giggs and had his inquisitors lining up to ask Moyes the burning question: why had the Welshman been allowed only 12 starts, the last of which came on January 28th, in a 2-0 win over Cardiff City?
After Van Persie’s 51st minute strike to complete his hat-trick took the side into today’s quarter-final draw, to give the manager the best night of his stuttering United career, this was put to the Scot.
Look to see
“We have to look to see what we do – Ryan Giggs can’t go on for ever, we know that. We have to be looking to find the new Ryan Giggs and the new players.
“I thought that he is 40 years old and I needed to look to the future, to give people opportunities to play,” he said.
A jam-tomorrow selection policy is of little value if by mid-March the defending champions are left 18 points off the leaders, Chelsea, and 12 from qualifying for next season’s Champions League. When trying to replace Alex Ferguson, the domestic game’s most successful manager, an approach of choosing the best players now to win each and every game seems wiser.
Moyes’s admission sounds as if he is using his first campaign as a glorified trial for some far-off point in the future where tomorrow never comes.
For Moyes to understand how best to utilise Giggs a hint may have been gained by studying Ferguson’s deployment of the midfielder as the years began advancing.
To take the 2012-13 season, Ferguson’s last, Giggs was named in the XI for United’s biggest match, the Champions League last 16 return against Real Madrid at Old Trafford, with the tie poised at 1-1.
To trust Giggs when the club – and the manager – need him most appears a strategy Moyes adopted by default for Olympiakos.
There were only so many times his €29 million summer buy, Marouane Fellaini, could be seen stumbling through matches before the Belgian had to be dropped for a night that might have ended the manager’s tenure.
The poser now is when will Moyes next include Giggs in the lineup.
The smart money says West Ham United tomorrow will come too soon for a player now in his fifth decade, with Tuesday evening’s derby against Manchester City at Old Trafford the more likely.
Yet there would be no surprise, given Moyes’s constant tinkering and the season-long policy regarding Giggs, if he was stood down for United’s 167th squabble with their neighbours.
Giggs could yet prove the telling factor in a change of United’s fortunes before the season’s end. And in those of Moyes.