Giggs continues to dismiss rumours

 

Ryan Giggs has again played down speculation linking him with a January move to Inter Milan.

The Welsh winger is hoping for a Manchester United recall against Sunderland on Wednesday after being left on the substitutes' bench in the 2-0 win over Birmingham at the weekend.

Alex Ferguson's decision to leave Giggs out of his Premiership starting line-up for only the second time this season fuelled speculation that the 28-year-old was ready to walk through the Old Trafford exit door and head for Serie A when the transfer window opens in two days' time.

Giggs, who signed a new five-year contract last season, used his own website to distance himself from the transfer talk yesterday and used the build-up to Wednesday's sell-out encounter to again commit his future to the Red Devils.

"When I signed my contract last year I said I wanted to finish my career at United," said Giggs. "That is the end of the story as far as I am concerned. I still have four years left on my present contract and I am quite happy."

Ridiculous as the thought of Giggs leaving his only professional club is, there is no doubt he is also embarking on one of the most challenging phases of his career.

With Juan Veron starting to hit the kind of form which persuaded Ferguson to part with a then record £28.1million for his services 18 months ago, skipper Roy Keane returning to full fitness after a hip operation and both Paul Scholes and David Beckham showing signs of recovering from post-World Cup tiredness, Giggs faces a battle to claim one of the four midfield spots, despite being the club's only naturally left-footed offensive player.

While there has been no repeat of the hamstring problems which have plagued him throughout his career, Giggs has sparked only sporadically.

And while he remains an integral part of Ferguson's plans, he needs to perform with greater consistency, especially in front of goal where he scored six times in his first 12 outings of the season but has failed to find the target in 18 appearances since."There have been a lot of games recently and on Saturday the manager decided to mix it around a little bit," said Giggs. "You always want to play but you have to recognise it is not just about 12 or 13 players, it is about 20.

"I have been pleased with my fitness this season because I have probably played the same number of games so far than I did in the whole of the last campaign.

"I am just keeping my fingers crossed that all the injuries are behind me now."