Giggs voted player of the year

LONDON - Manchester United stalwart Ryan Giggs has been voted player of the year by his fellow English league professionals for the first time at the age of 35.

LONDON - Manchester United stalwart Ryan Giggs has been voted player of the year by his fellow English league professionals for the first time at the age of 35.

The top Professional Footballers Association accolade was the one prize that had eluded English football's most decorated player since making his United debut in March 1991.

After receiving the award on Sunday night, Giggs is now hoping to make his 800th appearance for the Premier League leaders in tomorrow's Champions League semifinal first leg against Arsenal.

Despite his age, Giggs remains key to United's quest for four titles this season. The team has already won the Club World Cup and League Cup, while still remaining on course to defend its Premier League and European titles.

Giggs, who is contracted to the Red Devils until June 2010, has won 10 Premier League titles, two Champions League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups - all with United.

"It's right up there with personal accolades, it's the best to have as it's voted by your fellow players," Giggs said at the London ceremony. "I've been fortunate to win a lot of trophies, I won the young player award twice, but this is the big one."

The former Wales international broke United's appearance record in last May's Champions League final victory over Chelsea, surpassing Bobby Charlton's 758 matches.

Giggs, who was one of five United players on the six-man shortlist, thanked manager Alex Ferguson for helping him to stay at the top of his game for 19 years.

The 23-year-old Aston Villa winger, Ashley Young, was named young player of the year. - Sapa-AP

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