Giggs ready for new Old Trafford test
July 26, 2012 07:08 am
The dressing room will be the same - but everything else will feel different for Ryan Giggs when he leads Team GB into their Olympic opener with Senegal on Thursday night.
Giggs has spent 20 years playing football at Old Trafford. Only once has the 38-year-old not been wearing the red shirt of Manchester United - when he was wearing the same colour shirt as he turned out for Wales in a World Cup qualifier with England in October 2004.
On Thursday night, he will be sporting blue, creating a whole new environment for Giggs to perform in, and he said: "It is going to be strange. I have done it once before when Wales played England. That day I was in the away dressing room. Fortunately I am in the home one this time."
He added: "But my bread and butter is playing for United in front of United fans at Old Trafford. This is going to be a bit different."
Red Devils team-mate Tom Cleverley has already been told to make the most of his experience by Rio Ferdinand.
And whilst coach Stuart Pearce has offered every member of his squad the opportunity to attend Friday night's eagerly-awaited opening ceremony, whether they are in the mood to enjoy it depends on how they get on against a Senegal side that are likely rely on a very physical approach. Not that Cleverley is worried.
Even with the absence of Gareth Bale, who will not be forced to miss Tottenham's pre-season programme as the FA have declined the opportunity the make an official complaint given the Welshman missed the Olympics due to a back problem, Cleverley believes Team GB are good enough to make a significant impact.
"There is enough quality here," said the Manchester United man. "There is everything in this squad; youth, experience, enthusiasm, speed, technical ability and a good manager.
"There is no reason why we can't do well. It is a strong tournament but if we work hard and turn up on the day, I am sure we will be amongst the medals."
In excess of 70,000 tickets have been sold for GB's first full Olympic appearance since 1960. The game will be preceded by Uruguay's encounter with Group A minnows UAE.
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