Ryan Giggs

Appearances: 899
Goals: 162

Debut: 2 March 1991

"To make 900 appearances for a club like this is incredible."
- Denis Irwin

13/02/2012 12:49, Report by Nick Coppack
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Landmark looms for Giggs

When Denis Irwin limped off the Old Trafford pitch after just 35 minutes against Everton on 2 March 1991, Alex Ferguson replaced him with a skinny 17-year-old.

Now, almost 21 years later, that talented teenager - namely Ryan Giggs - has won more trophies than any other player in the history of English football and is closing in on his 900th appearance for Manchester United.

As for Irwin, he can't believe Giggs is still terrorising top-flight defences, and recalls when the young Welshman first starting knocking on the first-team door.

"It's incredible," Irwin says as he stands on the forecourt at Old Trafford. "We all knew about him. He was like lightning, he was like the wind, and had such great ability and skill.

"The best thing about him was that he could do his defensive duties as well. He never shirked that responsibility and still doesn't. He played on the left wing in front of me for 10 years and it's incredible he's still as sharp and as driven as he is."

And important to the team. Giggs may be 38 now but he remains a vital component of Sir Alex's championship-chasing side. Games don't get much bigger than United vs Liverpool and Ryan's started all three encounters this season against the men from Merseyside.

The most recent, Saturday's eventful outing, was his 899th for the Reds, leaving him just one short of an astonishing landmark.

"To make 900 appearances for a club like this..." Irwin says, trailing off as he seeks the words to describe Ryan's impending achievement.

"Everyone knew him as an out-and-out winger. To change his thought process on a football field [and adapt to a role in the centre of midfield] is testament to how good a player he is. He not only stayed at the top of his game but changed it

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