Ryan Giggs named Best Player in 20 Seasons Awards
Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs has been named Best Player in the Premier League's 20 Seasons Awards.
The 38-year-old was chosen by a panel of football experts and received his prize at a special ceremony to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Premier League in London on Tuesday.
Giggs, who is the only man to have played and scored in all 20 Premier League seasons, beat off competition from nine other nominees to win the award.
He made his Manchester United debut in 1991 before the Premier League had started, and he reflected on the start of his career upon receiving his prestigious award as well as paying tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson, manager throughout his time at Old Trafford.
"I've known Sir Alex since I was 13 and he's been the biggest influence on my career," said Giggs. "Even then he knew my name and my parents, and it's that personal touch that sets him apart from everyone else.
"At 17, you just want to train with the first team, then you get greedy, want to get in the team and win trophies, but of course I didn't think I'd still be playing at this age.
"The older lads get a bit of stick in the dressing-room, but I remember when I was in their shoes giving it out to the likes of Bryan Robson and Steve Bruce.
"The older players have always made the younger players feel at ease at United, and the transition - because of the manager - has always been an easy one into the first-team squad."
Premier League tribute
Giggs also paid tribute to the Premier League and said it was an honour to have been involved in the competition from the very beginning.
"The Premier League is bigger and better now than it was 20 years ago, there's no doubt about it," he added. "The players and facilities are better and it's just a joy to have been a part of it from the start and see what it is now.
"I think the League is faster and technically better these days. You've seen this season with the football played and the goals scored that it's getting better every year."
The Welshman will continue his record of appearing in every season next term, with his contract at Old Trafford not due to run out until the summer of 2013.
Giggs is the most decorated British footballer of all time, winning the Premier League on 12 occasions with United along with two UEFA Champions League titles, four FA Cups, four League Cups and a host of other trophies.
He also won 64 international caps for Wales, scoring 12 times in the process.
As well as his award for Best Player, Giggs also picked up a special achievement prize on Tuesday for the number of appearances he has made, having played in 598 Premier League matches for Man Utd.
There were 300,000 fans who voted in the Premier League 20 Seasons Awards casting over 4.2m votes in five categories: Goal, Match, Save, Goal Celebration and Fantasy Team of the 20 Seasons.
In addition, there are also six panel categories: Player, Manager, Team, Season, Most Memorable Quote and Fantasy Team of the 20 Seasons.