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Beefy
October 28th, 2014, 7:29 AM
So here's a thread idea I've had for a couple of years without doing anything about it. Every now and then we pick a player and discuss him. How good was he, what was his legacy, what are your main memories of that player.

The first one who sprang to my mind would be Ryan Giggs.

I had an argument with a Man United fan in a pub last year who tried to convince me that Giggs was the best player of the Premier League era. I remember Giggs coming into the first team at 17 and saw him up to his retirement and my position is that he was never one of the top five players in the Premier League at any single point in time. He was very good, don't get me wrong, and his longevity and consitency has to be respected but I don't think he was ever the main man at Manchester United and for good reason.

It's hard to argue with the stats of course. 963 games for one club. Most assists in Premier League history, 13 Premier League winners medals, most Champions League appearences.

So how good was he?

Canuck
October 28th, 2014, 7:59 AM
That was probably me arguing that. Ryan Giggs is my favorite player to ever lace up. I am biased, but he was the best at what he did.

Andy
October 28th, 2014, 8:14 AM
Ryan Giggs was, at points in his career, a very good player. Maybe in one or two seasons he was in the top two or three players in the league but he's never been at that elite level. His longevity is the most impressive thing about his career and why people tend to think of him more highly than is maybe deserved IMO.

Romford Pele
October 28th, 2014, 8:20 AM
I disagree Andy. How could he have done anymore? It isnt his fault he didnt get to a world cup because Wales were shite. He was consistently excellent for 20+ years. Name someone who is not a defender or keeper who has done that. Probably only Javier Zanetti comes to mind.

No doubt a legend and fantastic player. I still remember that bastards goal against us in the 99 Semi Final reply grr.

Andy
October 28th, 2014, 8:30 AM
I'm not disagreeing he's a United legend or a great player, I just don't think his name comes up when you're talking about an elite group who can claim to be one of the best players ever or even of a generation.

Would he make the top 10 of best players ever to play in the PL? Maybe just.

Matthew
October 28th, 2014, 8:36 AM
i only know of ryan giggs from the latter/grey hair part of his career.

he always looked like a distinguished gentleman.

The Rosk
October 28th, 2014, 8:41 AM
Giggs was one of the best players in the League over the years of 1992 and 1993, before he got an injury in 1994. What I find the most impressive is not necessarily the longevity but how he managed to change positions and his style of play across his career and still get at least 25-30 League games every single year for a team constantly at the top of the Prem.

Romford Pele
October 28th, 2014, 9:21 AM
I'm not disagreeing he's a United legend or a great player, I just don't think his name comes up when you're talking about an elite group who can claim to be one of the best players ever or even of a generation.

Would he make the top 10 of best players ever to play in the PL? Maybe just.

Who would be your best players of his generation? Just interested.

Simon
October 28th, 2014, 9:24 AM
Weird timing Biffo I was going to make a similar type of thread but about Joe Cole after seeing him last night and thinking about what an odd career he's had, winning pretty much everything there is to win and getting about 60 England caps, yet somehow feeling like his was a talent wasted.

Giggs is pretty clear-cut isn't he, the answer is "world-class at his peak" or something along those lines? I was too young to fully appreciate Giggs in his very early years but watching old footage of him he was sensational - insanely quick with an almost impossible ability to keep control of the ball while running at full pace. From what I remember he had a couple of ropey years in the mid-90s as people worked him out a little and after one long-term injury he lost that extra yard of pace that made him unstoppable down the line, but he changed his game without any real loss to his ability. In his younger years there was a lot of question about his final ball, but as he aged (and I'm only talking about going into his late 20s here) he used his pace more thoughtfully and seemed to improve his crossing, becoming an equally good winger but with a different style of play that involved him more in team play rather than just bombing past his man and getting to the byline.

Then as he hit his thirties at the same period that Ferguson moved away from the 4-4-2 formation that served him so well, Giggs moved inside more or less seamlessly and became yet another different type of player, perhaps not quite as effective as either of his wing incarnations but still an exceptionally talented player in centre mid who used his experience to control games. In his later years people wrote him off a couple of times during runs of poor form but it was only right at the end as he hit his 40s that you could really say he wasn't good enough for United any more, particularly in Europe where he simply wasn't up to it against the top sides.

Really he's had one of the most incredible careers going, and the fact that you kind of forget about him is testament to how he made being excellent on a consistent basis a given fact that wasn't worth thinking about. He won everything there is to win, was a mainstay of four or five different United sides under Ferguson, adapted his game completely not once but twice without ever dropping below the level needed to be a key player for a top side...he was sensational really, and as I say the fact that you can forget that only goes to show how much of an assumption it was.

Simon
October 28th, 2014, 9:25 AM
I'm not disagreeing he's a United legend or a great player, I just don't think his name comes up when you're talking about an elite group who can claim to be one of the best players ever or even of a generation.

Would he make the top 10 of best players ever to play in the PL? Maybe just.
:lol: how would he not? He might actually be number one despite Beefy possibly being right that he's never been the best at any single point (disagree that he's never been in the top five though Beefy), by virtue of being consistently among the best for a good ten years, and consistently good or better for another ten years beyond that.

Let me guess, Henry's number one on your list yeah?

son_of_foley
October 28th, 2014, 9:34 AM
Giggs was never a key player for united as a central midfielder and probably hasn't been a key player for that side for about 10 years. That said he was unreal in his early years and was clearly one of the very best of the premier league generation. I think people underestimate how good he was when he came on to the scene. Even though I was young I remember the big italian teams were basically throwing themselves at him at an early age and thats when that was the biggest show in town

Andy
October 28th, 2014, 9:52 AM
Let me guess, Henry's number one on your list yeah?

Of course he is, don't think anyone would dispute that.

Better PL players I would have Henry, Bergkamp, Vieira, Keane and Scholes above Giggs at least.

El Capitano Gatisto
October 28th, 2014, 9:52 AM
I disagree Andy. How could he have done anymore? It isnt his fault he didnt get to a world cup because Wales were shite. He was consistently excellent for 20+ years. Name someone who is not a defender or keeper who has done that. Probably only Javier Zanetti comes to mind.

No doubt a legend and fantastic player. I still remember that bastards goal against us in the 99 Semi Final reply grr.

That's actually completely incorrect, he wasn't consistently excellent for 20+ years. He was really pretty under-whelming for much of the mid-90s after his hamstrings started to give up. Steve McManaman was a similar sort of player but was much better, in my opinion, in the early parts of their careers and a much better footballer overall. He isn't really seen with the same fondness for some reason, maybe because Liverpool were a bit of a shambles in his time there and he pissed off to Real Madrid for the most successful part of his career trophies-wise.

Giggs was very inconsistent for much of his career. I got a lot of guff from mates for arguing this point as well, Beefy. I think he could possibly be one of the most overrated players in Premier League history and I thinka lot of his profile comes down to his longevity during the Ferguson-era and revisionism of his form in light of him re-making himself as a more rounded footballer in his 30s.

Giggs was an extremely exciting young player when he first came on the scene, loads of pace and direct running with a powerful shot at the end of it. He was fantastic in his first couple of seasons before injuries started to slow him down a bit and I don't think he ever really realised the potential he had at 18/19. That's not unusual really. He did maintain a great work ethic, but attacking-wise he could be pretty inconsistent and under-whelming, and a notoriously poor crosser of the ball for a winger. He wasn't a great passer either, but he improved hugely upon that later in his career as he moved centrally in terms of technique, if not in ball retention or intelligence. If people forgot just how inconsistent he was through his 20s, I think he was willfully overrated in his 30s. If anything I think Giggs sticking around for so long was a sign of the indulgence that crept in to Alex Ferguson's latter years and the lack of renewal in the United squad that has left them in such a mess now. You look at di Maria now and wonder why the fuck Alex Ferguson persisted for so long with Ryan Giggs in that midfield, despite it crying out for some pace and invention since Ronaldo left. Giggs just got praised for walking on the pitch for a while there, but he frankly was absolute shit the majority of the time he played since 2008, really, and the odd performance where he brought some experience and nous to the pitch really didn't make up for the countless regular ones where he was guilty of giving the ball away routinely and being unable to cope with more physical and mobile opposition. He would score a goal in February or something, or come on as a sub and play a good pass, and this would be the focus rather than a proper acknowledgement that he had been done as a real top level footballer for several years and Ferguson's sentimental approach to him was a serious liability.

Very good player, but not as great as he should have been and very overrated in hindsight.

Beefy
October 28th, 2014, 10:19 AM
Weird timing Biffo I was going to make a similar type of thread but about Joe Cole after seeing him last night and thinking about what an odd career he's had, winning pretty much everything there is to win and getting about 60 England caps, yet somehow feeling like his was a talent wasted.

POTTY season, what can I say? There's no point posting threads before October.

Joe Cole can be next. Then LE TISSIER.

son_of_foley
October 28th, 2014, 10:22 AM
FUCK JOE COLE

Beefy
October 28th, 2014, 10:27 AM
ECG's summary is pretty much perfectly in line with where I am. Giggs was genuinely brilliant as a teenager but by 22/23 he was on a par with the likes of McManaman, Lee Sharp and maybe even Gary Speed. Wingers are notoriously inconsistent and Giggs was as bad as any in that regard. I always remember a few sensational performances in European nights at Old Trafford in the mid-90s which is when he was at his peak IMO but then he'd be fairly quiet at Sheffield Wednesday or West Ham at the weekend.

Romford Pele
October 28th, 2014, 12:25 PM
Harry Kewell would be a good one too.

I think people expected too much from Giggs after his first few years. No one could sustain that level aside from Messi or Ronaldo these days.

Owen and Gascoigne had similar early years and then tailed off badly. Giggs went from incredible to very very good.

Red Dog
October 28th, 2014, 1:29 PM
Giggs was a key part of the 2012-13 team that was in serious decline so loses a lot of marks for that.

Mik
October 28th, 2014, 1:39 PM
He was good yeah.

MMH
October 28th, 2014, 2:06 PM
Of course he is, don't think anyone would dispute that.

Better PL players I would have Henry, Bergkamp, Vieira, Keane and Scholes above Giggs at least.

I dispute it.

Gary J
October 28th, 2014, 4:54 PM
I'd dispute it as well

turdpower
October 28th, 2014, 5:02 PM
Ryan Giggs is the best left midfielder in Premier League history.

Romford Pele
October 28th, 2014, 5:09 PM
Bobby Pires has that honour.

Giggs played in the middle for half his career

turdpower
October 28th, 2014, 6:09 PM
No.

connorboy
October 28th, 2014, 6:36 PM
Ryan Giggs Ryan Giggs missed an open goal...

turdpower
October 28th, 2014, 7:24 PM
That was Beck's fault, remember?

Simon
October 28th, 2014, 7:34 PM
Bobby Pires has that honour.

Giggs played in the middle for half his career
So just the twelve years then compared to the five or so that Pires played in the PL. Deluded.

El Capitano Gatisto
October 28th, 2014, 8:36 PM
Pires was a better left-sided midfielder in those 5 years that Giggs was at any point in his career. Fantastic player.

Andy
October 28th, 2014, 8:39 PM
Yeah, quality over quantity.

Romford Pele
October 29th, 2014, 6:28 AM
I would say between 2001 & 2005 Pires was the best in the world in that position. Biased maybe, but he was just class.

Beefy
October 29th, 2014, 6:28 AM
Bale was better than Giggs.

Simon
October 29th, 2014, 6:56 AM
Bale was good for two years for fuck's sake! At his peak he was probably as good as Giggs at his peak, possibly better. But you'd have to disregard the other 20+ years of Giggs' PL career to arrive at the idea that Bale was better. Same with Pires - not as good as Giggs when both were at their best, and Giggs did it for miles longer.

Beefy
October 29th, 2014, 7:18 AM
At their peaks both Bale & Pires were miles better than Giggs at his peak was. That's the point. They were far better footballers regardless of how long Giggs managed to remain a six or seven out of ten player for.

The Rosk
October 29th, 2014, 7:19 AM
Tony Yeboah was better than Alan Shearer because in a period of three games he was the best striker in the world.

Simon
October 29th, 2014, 7:21 AM
At their peaks both Bale & Pires were miles better than Giggs at his peak was. That's the point. They were far better footballers regardless of how long Giggs managed to remain a six or seven out of ten player for.

Giggs in his early years was sensational. Come on. Bale in his final year was probably better, Pires was a great player but not at the same level. My point is that it's far from a case of just going for longevity over ability, Giggs' career tailed off but five years of being brilliant followed by fifteen years of being great, good and finally mediocre is better than just five years (or two in Bale's case) of being brilliant.

El Capitano Gatisto
October 29th, 2014, 9:10 AM
Giggs in his early years was sensational. Come on. Bale in his final year was probably better, Pires was a great player but not at the same level. My point is that it's far from a case of just going for longevity over ability, Giggs' career tailed off but five years of being brilliant followed by fifteen years of being great, good and finally mediocre is better than just five years (or two in Bale's case) of being brilliant.

Pires was a better player than Ryan Giggs. Giggs was direct, quick and very exciting as a young guy but he was also playing in a more limited Premier League when he was at his peak. Pires was playing in a stronger competition and was a much better all-round footballer. I don't even know how you come to the conclusion that Pires was never at the same level, at no point was Ryan Giggs ever the best player in the Premier League, whereas Robert Pires quite clearly was in 01/02, before his knee injury. Even in the 90s, I'd have had Andrei Kanchelskis over Ryan Giggs.

El Capitano Gatisto
October 29th, 2014, 9:10 AM
Double post.

But also, I think Arjen Robben is an example of the type of player Giggs could/should have been. Both had similar hamstring problems as young players, but Robben really has matured into a brilliantly effective attacking player. Giggs had some memorable games in his day and scored some memorable goals, but at no point did he ever become that consistently threatening attacking winger/midfielder that his early days suggested he could be. For me he's had a great career as a loyal and reliable player with some moments of brilliance, but never really threatened to be one of the top players in world football or the Premier League.

Andy
October 29th, 2014, 2:30 PM
Completely agree.

Romford Pele
October 30th, 2014, 5:08 AM
It is so hard to judge quality versus time. Looking at my first post, to be fair I probably cherry picked Giggs best moments and forgot about his average ones.

In terms of longevity he is unmatched, but I would have to agree with ECG and Andy that Pires in his prime was a better player, possibly Robben as well.

I was reading in Fergies autobiography that he thought Scholes was better than Gascoigne for the same reason, ie - was doing it at the top level for longer, but I don't think Scholes ever hit the heights Gascoigne did around 1988-1991. Difficult.

Simon
November 14th, 2014, 5:06 AM
Who next Biffo? Maybe Rooney with his 100th cap coming up tomorrow?

Beefy
November 14th, 2014, 6:19 AM
I was actually leaning towards Aguero as I'm rapidly coming to think he might be one of the absolute best goalscorers we've had in England. Rooney is a good shout but it has kind of been done time after time. He's probably the most written about footballer playing today and on here it is no different.

Thoughts? I'll put a thread up at lunch.

Fanny
November 14th, 2014, 6:24 AM
I think Wayne Rooney is one of the most overrated players in the history of English football.

Simon
November 14th, 2014, 6:26 AM
Jason Dozzell.

Beefy
November 14th, 2014, 6:58 AM
The other trouble with conversations about Rooney is that they attract hyperbolic nonsensical comments from people who know nothing about football.

Simon
November 14th, 2014, 7:00 AM
Why don't NURSES and ARE BRAVE BOYS get 200k a week.