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Ryan Giggs Interview

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Ryan Giggs talks pants, pranks, player power and remaining on good terms with City fans

You, Beckham, the Neville brothers, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes feature in new documentary Class Of ’92. Was it strange to all be together again?

The strangest part was seeing the lads we haven’t seen for two decades, the ones who didn’t make it as professional footballers. As for those five, we see each other anyway.

Who gets the most stick?

Gary wants to take charge, wants to be the boss, never stops talking. Phil’s similar. But we all take the mick out of each other in different ways.

And Becks?

Yeah, if he turns up late we tell each other we’re waiting for the helicopter to land. But by the time he arrives we’ve already texted him to ask if he’s in LA with Tom Cruise [laughs].

Did you ever go out to see him in Hollywood?

I never got invited. I must not be A-list enough! But I’m lucky enough to have met people from all sorts of industries. Even the Gallagher brothers have been nice to me when I’ve bumped into them.

Beckham’s played in a few different countries. Did you ever fancy experiencing life outside the Premier League?

If I did move it would probably be a big club in Spain. That’s a great league to be involved in.

All ‘Fergie’s Fledglings’ pulled on a jersey and played a match for the film – who’s still got the skills?

Scholesy and Becks, as they’ve just retired. Some of the lads who left after their apprenticeships struggled to get into the tops due to the weight they’d put on.

Was it competitive?

It always is. The guys will tell you I’ve a bit of a short temper in training. If I lose the ball, I’ll go crazy chasing after it. If I boot someone such as Nemanja Vidic, I’ll realise what I’ve done and retreat to the left wing where he can’t find me.

According to the film, Butt tried to prank Peter Schmeichel and ending up burning the Dane’s penis with a tea-tray. Any other memorable mischief?

Peter was often behind it all. Say your job was to pump up the balls and Peter found out they were flat, you would have to take a punishment such as having a full United kit painted on with a white brush and shoe polish. We also had big tumble driers, so you might have to do five seconds in one.

Are pranks played now?

I’m the senior guy now, so I’ll initiate a few. For instance, a punishment might be getting one of the players to recreate a nightclub scene, pretending a mop is a girl. So they’ll have to walk up to her, chat the mop up and dance with it.

What do you make of the shift in player power?

The Messis, the Rooneys, the Ronaldos – they can demand so much, as any club would want them. Luckily, I’m in a position where, if I’m unhappy with someone – an experienced player or a younger player – I can tell them. You need to be careful with the younger ones, so I’m more likely to give a subtle hint if they’re getting ideas above their station.

Jack Wilshere was criticised for smoking recently. Did you and Becks have it easier during your wild nights out?

Everyone has cameras on their phones now, making it hard to keep a low profile. Back then, we’d frequent The Haçienda regularly and never got into any bother – except for training, where the manager tended to know everything. He’d always ask where you were last night, so you had to get your stories straight.

Does Sir Alex keep in touch?

We still speak on the phone. I’ve known him for more than 20 years, so that relationship will carry on. I was going to buy his book but he sent me a signed copy. He didn’t personalise it, so I’ve not read it yet.

Ronaldo recently told us he’s kitting the Real Madrid players out in his underwear. Would you wear them?

Probably not, Ronnie’s choice of underwear is a bit flashy for me. I remember him turning up and thinking he was a snazzy dresser. If you come in wearing a dodgy jacket or shoes they’re going to be put into the middle [of the room]. There’s no hiding place in a football dressing room.

You’ve just turned 40 – would you sign on for another year with United?

I usually wait until after Christmas to decide. I’ll sit down with the manager and see how I feel. Right now I’m pretty relaxed, I’m enjoying training and big games. If it’s the end, then so be it; if it’s another year then I’ll go on.

How’s the yoga going?

I’ve set a trend, I think. I wouldn’t say I enjoy it, but the feeling I have afterwards tells me that it’s worth doing. You have to listen to your body more as you get older – I can hear it telling me to avoid cheese and wine.

Aside from your own, what is the best yoga DVD to buy someone for Christmas?

None, mine’s the best.

Class Of ’92 is out on DVD now

(Images: Rex/Universal)

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