Manchester United will be lost without Ryan Giggs and Sir Alex Ferguson

It would be wrong to suggest he celebrated the occasion, as a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea would ruin the week of any footballer, especially one as committed and driven as Giggs.

Yet for a player with more league titles, and more Premier League appearances, than any player in English football history it seemed a low-key occasion, with the fallout from Wayne Rooney’s errant elbow attracting more attention.

Giggs’ longevity is astonishing. He was once labelled the new George Best but, if the Ulsterman had stayed at Old Trafford as long as Giggs, he’d have played Liverpool in the 1983 League Cup final.

Giggs takes on United’s old enemy on Sunday, having made his debut in 1991 against Everton, just ten days after a 4-4 draw with the Toffees persuaded Kenny Dalglish to seek a quiet life. As one era ended, another began.

A constant through both Dalglish’s first Anfield reign and Giggs’ 20 years at the top has been the king of sticking around, Sir Alex Ferguson.

But while Giggs has matured and mellowed – from tabloid fixture with celebrity girlfriend to Twitter-averse family man – his United manager is as hot-headed and outspoken as ever.

The only man in the country not to see the karmic link between Rooney avoiding censure for elbowing James McCarthy, and David Luiz’s unpunished assault on the United striker three days later, his outburst could land him with another touchline ban.

But while Giggs’ quiet determination is a key factor in his ongoing success, Ferguson’s seething passion remains at the core of his own longevity.

Giggs the player is sure Ferguson the manager will outlast him at Old Trafford. United will be lost without them.