Ryan Giggs on how Sir Alex Ferguson will rebuild Manchester United after Cristiano Ronaldo
Published 00:00 22/07/09 By
Ryan Giggs has challenged his Manchester United team-mates to shake off the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Veteran midfielder Giggs, 35, who is entering his 20th full season with United, has seen a succession of big names come and go at Old Trafford during his glittering career.
United have lost key men like Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Roy Keane in the past, but each time Sir Alex Ferguson has reinvented his side to keep them at the top.
And although Ronaldo was an equally influential figure - with 67 goals in his final two seasons before joining Real Madrid for £80million - Giggs said United can cope without him.
"A lot more is made of it outside the club than on the inside," said Giggs.
"You get used to it being at a big club like United. There are always going to be stars and great players retiring or leaving, but what makes the club special is that, whoever leaves, we just move on and try to improve.
"Obviously without Ronaldo you realise we no longer have a great player in our team, but then we've coped before when this sort of thing has happened.
"Since I came into the team the likes of Robson, Mark Hughes, Cantona, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Keane and Beckham have left.
"So many great players have left the club, but that's what the manager is so good at - reshaping and re-energising the team. Cristiano and Carlos Tevez were great players for us but we move on.
"We don't dwell on it. As players we're like ships in the night. You just get on with it."
With Ronaldo's departure, Giggs expects the Red Devils to revert to a more traditional 4-4-2 formation, now they no longer need to accommodate their former No.7's unique threat.
"The team has adapted well to whatever system we have played, whether it's 4-4-2 or three in midfield," he said.
"The players that have come in over the last five or six years have just got used to playing any system the manager picks.
"We've got that flexibility in the squad. With Antonio Valencia coming in, it might be a bit more of a rigid 4-4-2 system, but we'll have to see."
Giggs admitted he was shocked by the signing of Michael Owen, but claimed Fergie may have pulled off another masterstroke by bringing in the England striker for nothing.
Owen has scored twice in the opening two games of United's pre-season tour of the Far East and Giggs said the 29-year-old had shown he is still a superb goalscorer.
"I don't think I ever thought we'd see Michael in a United shirt but he's shown over the two games here what he's all about," said Giggs. "He's a goalscorer. It's as simple as that.
"You always admire a player who bursts on to the scene at 17 or 18, like he did, and carries on scoring throughout his career for the clubs he's played for and his country. Goalscorers like Michael just seem to have an instinct they're born with."
Although Giggs is only contracted until the end of next season, he has not decided when he will retire, having successfully reinvented himself as a central midfielder after years on the wing.
With Fergie rationing his appearances, Giggs has been able to prolong his remarkable career and was rewarded last season with the PFA Player of the Year award.
"I'm just looking forward to the new season," he said. "Despite the disappointment of losing the Champions League Final, we still had a great season.
"This time we'll be looking to defend the Premier League title for the fourth year running."
United arrive in Seoul today for the Korean leg of their Far East tour ahead of Friday's third pre-season game against FC Seoul.