With this season’s player of the year voting looking as open as it’s been in a decade, many names have been put forward for the much sought-after prize.
The likes of Ashley Young and Nemanja Vidic are seen by many as genuine contenders in a year where there is seemingly no standout candidate for the award.
However, in the last month a new name has emerged.
At 35 years old, Ryan Giggs was expected by many to be a bit-part player in Manchester United’s quest for honours this season, having begun both the Champions League final and the Premier League title decider at Wigan last May on the substitutes’ bench.
This wasn’t a surprise to many, who felt his best days were behind him after a series of poor performances in the previous campaign.
However, after strong showings against the likes of Chelsea and West Ham in the last month, it appears that Giggs is no longer past it, but as good as ever.
And in the process, the Welshman has emerged as many people’s favourite for the coveted crown.
A worthy contender, perhaps? Or is this just an act of nostalgia?
There’s no doubting Giggs’ undoubted quality and consistency during his 19 year tenure at Old Trafford. After all, he’s notched up 147 goals in 687 starts and 101 substitute appearances, and has managed to score in 19 consecutive league seasons.
It’s testament to his ability and how he’s looked after himself throughout his career that he can still perform at the highest level, and that Sir Alex Ferguson still trusts him in the big games for his experience and know-how.
But with only nine Premiership starts and a solitary goal to his name, the choice of Giggs as footballer of the year would be no more than a sentimental one.
Recent performances have certainly been special, as he has rolled back the years with a series of quality displays in a variety of positions.
However, it has to be said other players have been more consistent throughout the season, with Vidic in particular a key ingredient in United’s recent success.
The Serbian has been outstanding in a United side seemingly intent on breaking defensive records as they go along, and with 23 appearances to his name, he’s been a model of consistency for his side as they continue to strive for success on all fronts.
In a campaign where clean sheets have formed the basis of United’s success, he has been a key factor. His importance cannot be understated, and the accolade would be richly deserved in an award where defenders are largely ignored in favour of attacking players.
Indeed, Vidic has shown the true form that is required from the footballer of the year. Even Giggs himself would testify to that.