Ryan Giggs

This summer saw the retirement of a series of truly great footballing people.

Jamie Carragher, Paul Scholes, Phil Neville, David Beckham… Oh, and Sir Alex Ferguson, too, all stepped aside from the beautiful game.

And while Ryan Giggs, the most decorated player in the Premier League, signed a one-year extension at Manchester United at the beginning of March, surely it is only a matter of time before he too follows the likes of former teammates Scholes, Neville and Beckham in calling time on his illustrious 23-year playing career.

It will be a sad day when that time comes and one which, despite its inevitability, will shock football in the same way as Ferguson’s own retirement did last month.

The legendary midfielder is ingrained into the very fabric of Manchester United and like Ferguson will be sorely missed from the game when he does decide to hang up his boots, for how do you replace a man who has made close to a thousand appearances for your club?

Perhaps United will even undergo the same period of transition it is currently experiencing in this new era under David Moyes when that time comes, for like the 71-year old Scotsman there is simply no like-for-like replacement.

Yet United must, and certainly will, adapt and here, we profile 5 players who could eventually replace Ryan Giggs.

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This article was first posted on June 21, 2013