40-year-old proved he still has more invention than any other United midfielder against Olympiakos.
Following Manchester United’s 3-0 drumming of Olympiakos that saw them progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday night, it became clear just how little quality the possess in midfield.
40-year-old veteran Ryan Giggs was given the nod to start United’s biggest game of the season, leaving the likes of Marouane Fellani, Tom Cleverley and Shinji Kagawa out of the side.
Moyes’ decision to play Danny Welbeck meant only three out-and-out midfielders were on show, and Giggs’ selection reflects the alarming lack of quality the squad has. Something is very wrong when a manager overlooks more than £50 million worth of talent for a man who is already a coach.
Giggs deserves credit where it’s due. It’s not the fault of the Welshman that so many in the United dressing room have failed to bring the necessary grit to their performances. Those players are beginning to pay. Anderson has already been shipped out on loan, Nani barely features, Ashley Young has failed to become consistent and Shinji Kagawa looks a shadow of his former self at Dortmund.
Going forward, for this season at least, Giggs needs to play more. He’s the only one along with Michael Carrick who has an ounce of initiative and the ability to spot a pass that can tear a defence to shreds. His experience was crucial against Olympiakos, he was everywhere.
His 40-yard pass allowed for Robin van Persie to win the penalty for the opening goal and he never tired. He shifted the ball quicker and more accurately than anybody on the field, and set the tone for others to follow.
United know they cannot rely on Giggs forever. Still yet to make a decision on his playing future, he continues to come alive and lift the team around this stage of the season.
Moyes spoke last night of finding the next Ryan Giggs as justification of his lack of playing time. One thing is for sure, the next one certainly isn’t coming from within. Moyes must go out and find them.
For now Giggs must continue to play if United are to have any chance of matching the creativity of their opposition, particularly in the Champions League.
Some may argue other players in the dressing room will be inspired by last night’s performance. But the reality is the English Champions cannot rely on any other midfielder, with the exception of Carrick, to inject the kind of performances that Giggs did against Olympiakos.
Who can Manchester United recruit to give them more creativity in midfield?