United veterans to be offered new deals

Alex Ferguson is set to offer veteran duo Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes new contracts.

Despite passing their 36th and 35th birthdays respectively - and in Scholes' case personal doubt over his present contribution to the Manchester United cause - Ferguson is convinced the pair are important enough to remain at Old Trafford for another 12 months.

"Ryan will be offered a new contract for next season, which is an indication of what we think of him coming up to 37 next season, and Paul knows he will be offered one as well," Ferguson said.

It could be the start of a very big weekend for Giggs, who returns to action against Aston Villa at Old Trafford tomorrow before heading to Sheffield for Sunday's prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

Giggs is one of 10 candidates on the shortlist for the main prize, alongside the likes of Formula One world champion Jenson Button and new world heavyweight boxing champion David Haye.

Candidates from team sports do not often get their name engraved on the famous trophy but, after a career that has spanned almost 20 years and a trophy collection which includes 11 league titles and two European Cups, Ferguson feels Giggs deserves the highest recognition.

"We hope Ryan gets the reward he deserves," said the Manchester United boss.

"Consistency and longevity is not always rewarded. Look at Tony McCoy for instance. He has never won any of these awards but he has been top jockey for many years.

"Sometimes a young person who comes on the scene in one year can win it.

"But if Ryan hasn't got a chance what would that say?"

The most remarkable feature of Giggs' life is how unaffected he seems to be by all the adulation he has received.

Thrust into the limelight at such a young age, the former Welsh skipper flirted with the attention David Beckham has grabbed so assiduously and decided it was not for him.

Yet he remains polite and likeable, aware of his wider responsibilities and, through his work with children's charity Unicef, uses his status for a greater purpose.

"Ryan is an example to young people," said Ferguson. "He has humility and he has never changed and I think he is having his best years now.

"He has retained that amazing quality in his game and also an enthusiasm to play."

Scholes has not changed either. He never liked attention and still does not, preferring to get back to his family in Saddleworth at the earliest available opportunity rather than endorse products and maximise his commercial earnings.

He is also acutely aware of the impact he makes on a football field and - as he did with England in 2004 - perfectly capable of turning his back on parts of his career without a second thought.

It is why last week's self-analysis was interpreted as clearing the way for retirement, even if it was not quite what he intended.

"I spoke to Paul and he said he didn't actually say he was thinking of his future," Ferguson said.

"When you get to that age every player starts to think about what the future holds for him.

"But when you see Paul's performances at West Ham and in Wolfsburg last week there is no reason to think he can't do it again next year again.

"Maybe he thinks he should be playing every game. That's fine, but I know that's not fair.

"We want the quality. We want to see Scholes perform like he did on Tuesday and the best way of doing that is to gauge the games we know he is going to dominate."

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