Giggs keen to retain his focus

July 4, 2011

Giggs has spent weeks being on the wrong end of lurid headlines about his private life, having gone to great lengths to try and keep such stories out of the mainstream media. Generally regarded as the most professional of players for the better part of two decades, the veteran Welshman's tepid performance in the Champions League final defeat to Barcelona in May was blamed by some on the off-field distractions. Having accepted Sir Alex Ferguson's offer of a one-year contract extension, unlike old friend Paul Scholes and Edwin van der Sar, who have both opted for retirement, Giggs finds himself in the rather bizarre position of boasting a record 12 Premier League title medals but still having something to prove. The 37-year-old will not be under the spotlight until next week, when United head to the United States for a 20-day, five-match tour that is likely to include a meeting against an MLS All-Star team containing old friend David Beckham at the Red Bull Arena on July 27. However, before plunging Giggs into the Premier League opener at West Brom on August 13, or even the Community Shield clash with Manchester City at Wembley six days earlier, Ferguson will need to be certain a player he has trusted for so long is in the correct frame of mind. Like a number of his team-mates, Giggs only had medical assessments today and will not start training properly until Wednesday. It did offer a first opportunity to meet Ashley Young, the only one of Giggs' three new team-mates present as Phil Jones and David de Gea have both been granted extra time off due to their presence at the recently-completed European Under-21 Championships. There were other, more familiar, faces present, including Wes Brown, Darron Gibson and John O'Shea. How long they will remain part of the Old Trafford picture remains uncertain. The trio were all wanted by Sunderland earlier in the summer, whilst Stoke and Newcastle are also said to have made inquiries and it would appear only a matter of time before their respective United careers, which in Brown and O'Shea's cases extend to 361 and 393 matches respectively, come to an end.