Sir Alex Ferguson has challenged Michael Carrick to become the main man at Manchester United – and confirmed Ryan Giggs will be asked to extend his stay at Old Trafford into an incredible 23rd season.
Giggs extended his record of scoring in every Premier League campaign with his goal in Wednesday’s 5-0 win at Fulham.
He subsequently revealed he was due to speak with Ferguson about his future plans.
Now 38, Giggs has been on a rolling one-year contract since he hit the 30 mark.
Though long-time team-mates Paul Scholes and Gary Neville have both retired in the past 12 months, Giggs seems to go on and on.
And, providing the veteran Welshman wants to, Ferguson cannot see any reason why he should not stay for yet another campaign.
"I think Ryan can play another year," the Scot said.
"There is no evidence at this moment in time that his energy, stamina or speed are decreasing. In fact, it’s exactly the same as it was the last two or three years. It’s amazing.
"I know it’s mid-season now and it all depends on what Ryan thinks about his future, too.
"He knows he can’t go on forever, we know he can’t go on forever, but he can play for another year."
Although Giggs will continue to be an integral figure at United, it is to Carrick Ferguson is looking to fill the void left by Scholes’ exit.
The 30-year-old boasts a remarkable record, winning four Premier League titles in his five seasons at Old Trafford, in addition to featuring in three Champions League finals.
On most of United’s better days, Carrick has been a central component.
Yet he remains a divisive figure among the Red Devils support – a large section of whom would have backed the Geordie’s sale in the wake of last season’s Champions League defeat to Barcelona at Wembley.
Carrick has become an increasingly influential member of the United squad this term, though, as injuries have ripped the heart out of Ferguson’s midfield.
He scored his first goal in 70 games with a stunning solo run at QPR last weekend and followed up with a typically stylish display at Fulham.
And, though he has not featured for England since failing to make an appearance at the 2010 World Cup, Ferguson feels it is time Carrick fulfilled his potential.
"Michael’s been one of our best players over the past few weeks," Ferguson said.
"He’s been instrumental in what’s happening to the team at the moment. He’s grabbed the nettle. In some ways, he’s maybe seen the departure of Paul Scholes as his opportunity to be the main man in midfield."
And not before time, according to Carrick’s manager.
"It’s time Michael became the pivotal player of our team," Ferguson said.
"We’ve always known he’s got that in him.
"He’s a laid-back character – quiet and unassuming – but in different periods during his time here he’s shown his quality.
"Now is the time for him to start a long period of dominating the centre of midfield like he has in the last few weeks."