Alex Ferguson has expressed incredulity that Ryan Giggs should be the brunt of so much criticism this season.
Now 39, the Manchester United winger has had his appearances restricted this term.
And, on many of the occasions that he has been involved, Giggs has struggled to make the impact he has managed in previous years.
Not surprisingly, some United fans have questioned whether the veteran Welshman should extend his stellar career into his 40th year.
Ferguson has never lost faith though, and was rewarded with Giggs’s best performance of the season in the 4-3 St Stephen’s Day win over Newcastle at Old Trafford.
“How can you criticise a player that has given you 20 years?” said Ferguson.
“Let’s be honest. He may have an off day here and there because I don’t play him all the time.
“The problem for a player of Ryan’s pride and experience is that he probably wants to play more. At his age I can’t afford to risk him.
“I don’t think I will play him against West Brom [today] simply because of the energy he expended on Wednesday to help win the match for us.
“But it is beyond belief anybody could criticise him. I don’t understand it.”
Not that Giggs seems too bothered about fending off such negative talk. He is far too concerned with securing title number 20 for United, which would be his 13th.
“It is a great team to play in,” he said.
“We have so many options up front and the addition of Robin van Persie has brought that bit extra to the centre-forward position which already has the class of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck.”
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