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Giggs signs one year extension at Man United

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The marathon man of the Premier League era, Ryan Giggs, has signed a one year contract extension at Manchester United today, thus taking him into his 22nd season with the Red Devils. The Welsh veteran has been his usual influential self this season, scoring three goals from 22 appearances. But more importantly he has the best minutes per assists ratio in the Premier League, as showcased by his vital assists in recent games against Arsenal and Chelsea. The 38 year-old's powers have shown no signs of diminishing and he remains hungry even after accumulating the largest medals haul of any player in the British game.

Sir Alex Ferguson was effusive in his praise of the player who made his debut back in March 1991, saying, "Ryan is a marvellous player. In many ways, he epitomises all my teams here at United: he has constantly re-invented himself, adapted to the changing nature of the game and retained that desire and hunger for success.

"In every training session and match, he is the example for others to follow. The young players in the dressing room have a great chance to learn from a player who will continue to break records that anyone in the game will find hard to beat."

Giggs has moved to a more central role over the last few years as he prefers to have the game ahead of him to pick inch-perfect passes. He has seen more game time recently owing to the long injury list at United, with Darren Fletcher, Anderson and Tom Cleverly all out injured. He still possesses great fitness levels to get through 90 minutes at the highest level and his fitness will eventually determine when his playing days end.

"When I signed my first contract, I never thought I'd be able to play at United for 22 years", said Giggs. But I feel good and I know I can still contribute to keeping the team pushing for honours. Winning the club's 19th title was a great feeling but this club is all about what we do next and I'm really pleased I can be part of that."

The Golden Generation that broke through the ranks at United in the mid-90's continues to serve the club greatly, with Paul Scholes' return from retirement earlier this year a huge bonus. The duo have over 1500 appearances racked up between them, with Giggs being the club's most capped player with 898 appearances. Giggs' trophy collection from that period includes 12 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two Champions Leagues, three League Cups and the FIFA Club World Cup!

But critics might argue that the continued presence of the golden oldies highlights Sir Alex's reluctance to move ahead while it might also hinder the chances of youngsters getting a run in the first team. Teenagers like Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba have been frustrated by lack of first team action, with Morrison even being jettisoned by the club. While Morrison's problems had more to do with his character, Pogba is a real talent waiting in the wings.

Sir Alex has shown in the past that if talented youngsters knock on the door he has no qualms about booting the seniors. Giggs' generation got their break only because Ferguson trusted them to replace senior pros like Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Andrei Kanchelskis. The coaching staff at United will feel that the youngsters have a great -deal to learn by interacting with Scholes and Giggs on a day-to-day basis.

If and when Cleverly and Anderson return to action, Ferguson is bound to pick them ahead of the experienced duo, saving them for spurts of action at vital moments. But for now football fans all over the world will be glad that one of the most enduring names in the modern game will be on show for at least one more season.