Ryan Giggs' path to becoming the most durable and decorated player of the English Premier League era can be traced back almost 32 years, to the moment his precocious talents were spotted by a milkman on a muddy school pitch in north-west Manchester.
''He was just like a gazelle, flying up the wing,'' recalled Dennis Schofield, who happened to also be a scout at Manchester City . ''I thought, `Flipping heck, he's good this kid.'''
Giggs was just 8 at the time, but his close control, pace and skills had Schofield salivating.
''He is the most outstanding player I've seen at that age, even now. Like Stanley Matthews,'' Schofield, now 82, told The Associated Press.
Three decades on and the comparison with Matthews could not be more apt. Like the England great, who played top-level football until he was 50, Giggs' longevity is going down in folklore.
On Friday, the Manchester United midfielder turned 40. His hair is thinning and greying, his turn of pace isn't what it was, and he is ...