PLEASE NOTE – Due to tech glitch, we will ask you to open up the article to full size so to remove the ad from view.
Sir Alex Ferguson described it as a “weak moment” when questioned about the prospect of Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs making an international return to the Wales team at the age of 36. He said: “You must be joking, I can’t see it, it must have been a weak moment for Ryan. I can’t see that happening.” Ferguson is the one man in the football world that know Giggs inside out and, as much as the Welshman would relish the chance to help out a team that is in a poor state, it would be a senseless decision mainly considering his age.
Giggs has been retired from the international scene for almost three years now. However, last week he gave a strong indication that should Wales require him it would only be made possible if the situation was an emergency. He said: “I wouldn’t dismiss the idea. If I had that call from (Wales coach) John (Toshack) I would have to think hard about it. I wouldn’t rule it out.” Once again the hunger and desire from Giggs is there for all to see but because he is still such a good footballer, hence the contract extension to yet another season with United, he is likely to be playing first team football next season and there is no way Ferguson would want a crucial senior player to suffer from burnout at the age of 36, not to mention the travelling and the pressure on Giggs’s shoulders should the unthinkable happen and he went against his club manager’s wishes. Even though Giggs has stated that he would only be available in emergency circumstances, is there a chance that in making a comeback and playing two or three games would tempt him to make himself available on a full-time basis?
Giggs is one of the rare players in the British game today that is a true winner. Having won 11 Premiership titles along with two Champions Leagues and the FA and Carling Cups, along with the added bonus of a World Club Championship, he has gone on record to say that the only regret he has is not playing in a World Cup. Wales last qualified for a major tournament in 1958, and while Giggs will never play in a World Cup, he is never going to play in a European Championships either. There would be no point in trying to help Wales qualify for Euro 2012 because the youngsters in that side, and there are plenty in the Welsh team currently, need to be learning their trade around a pool of players that they are going to be progressing with in the near future. Giggs has admitted in the past that he never really represented his United form with the national team. He may have won 64 caps for them, and is rightly regarded as one of his country’s finest ever players, but apart from his all-round knowledge and experience of the game he would not be able to provide a magical spark or go on those famous weaving runs of his- you can be sure that John Toshack would see him as a guide to younger players and not someone who can win matches for his country.
If you take other players in to consideration than there is a temptation to look at the fact that David Beckham was striving towards a fourth World Cup (he will be 35 when the tournament starts even though he is missing out), and even though he never retired from international football, he had to work very hard to force his way back in to the set-up. Nonetheless, there is a difference between Beckham and Giggs in this instance. Unlike Beckham, Giggs is, and always will be, a one club man and there is every chance that once his playing days are over he will be involved with United in some capacity- whether it as a possible youth/reserve team coach or in an ambassadorial role. An international return would be detrimental to any such prospect. This is because, if anything, he would be better off prolonging his playing career at Old Trafford where his role is clear.
While Giggs’s comments should be taken lightly, considering it was just his genuine response to a question from an interview with a newspaper, there is the potential that this could turn in to an ugly club vs. country affair should Toshack try to persuade Giggs to return- as yet the Wales boss has not spoken about it. It would be interesting to see the reaction of the Welsh public should Giggs resist any lure to come back and represent Wales. Ferguson would be right to act stubborn in this situation, because he will have the confidence in the player that he will make the right decision. The only international return Ryan Giggs should make for Wales is in a future managerial role.
You can follow me on www.twitter.com/prashster