"Soccer" WI: Ryan Giggs was English
Popular pub topic over the years... and he's in the news again.
Ryan Joseph Wilson, or as he was later known after adopting his mother's maiden name... Ryan Giggs.
Born in Cardiff, Wales 1973, Ryan Giggs would later go on to become one of the most decorated footballers of all time - winning 2 Champions Leagues, 12 Premier League titles and 4 FA Cups. Sadly, as a Welsh international, Ryan Giggs is considered (in Britain at least) to be one of the best players to have never played in a World Cup behind George Best and Alfredo Di Stefano.
As the "pub legend" goes... Ryan Giggs captained England at schoolboy level, playing at Wembley Stadium against Germany in 1989 but "chose" to play for Wales instead of England. This part is fiction since Ryan Giggs was never eligible to play for England - the England schoolboys side only requires that you go to school in England - nationality isn't taken into account.
Why this is such a tempting tale is that the England international side has not had a decent left sided winger since John Barnes' time. There have been times of national hysteria in England since 1996/97 where we've suggested that we would or could win the next World Cup... but we've had to endure left sided makeweights like Trevor Sinclair littering up a potentially beautiful but sadly overrated team.
POD is a challenge. Ryan "Wilson" moved to north Manchester when he was 6 because his Rugby League playing father started playing for Swinton in 1981. Even if he'd made the move earlier, you'd have to wonder whether a Welsh international wouldn't want his son born in Wales.
Another possibility is that somehow FIFA forces England and Wales to field one side (although a Welsh professional league exists, several top Welsh sides already play in the English leagues). Not sure if it's worth discussing a POD in this case.
Obviously we all know that this would mean England would have won the World Cup in 1998, 2002, 2006... with Graham Taylor as manager... obviously.
Last edited by james31; June 7th, 2011 at 02:03 PM..
Sir Alex severely restricted the number of friendly games Giggs played for Wales, he only managed 64 caps in 16 years. Do you think he would do the same if he was English, because Scholes and the Neville brothers never really had that problem, it would be a bit unfair to only not release Giggs?
In a recent interview, Ryan Giggs once said that he hasn't full-out sprinted since he was in his early 20s - because of his problems with his hamstring. This is why he took up yoga. Ferguson will obviously have been aware of this and will have specifically held back Giggs for friendlies/meaningless qualifiers (i.e. when Wales didn't have a mathematical chance of qualifying).
An English Giggs probably would have played about 20-30% more games. That said, I doubt he would still be playing football by 2009 (no summer breaks, more games).
I'm not sure if Giggs would have played at Euro '92 but he was already a core member of the Manchester United side that finished second that year. Giggs played 51 games over that season, scoring 7 times.
11 June 1992 - 20:15
Denmark 0 – 0 England
1 Chris Woods
2 Keith Curle
3 Stuart Pearce
4 Martin Keown
5 Des Walker
7 David Platt
8 Trevor Steven
12 Carlton Palmer
16 Paul Merson
17 Alan Smith
10 Gary Lineker
Both Trevor Steven and Paul Merson were right sided players - so I could easily see Ryan Giggs replacing one of those 2. Denmark would later go on to win this tournament but as you can see from the final group table (2 points for a win, 1 point for a draw) their qualification to the next round depended on them getting a draw in this game.
14 June 1992 - 17:15
France 0 – 0 England
The forgettable Andy Sinton brought in to cover on the left.
And the final match:
17 June 1992 - 20:15
Sweden 2 – 1 England
With Neil Webb (a man struggling to even get a game at his club side) somehow brought in, alongside Sinton. Some people might say that England losing to Sweden is a fixed point in time and history. They're probably right.
Final standings - Group A
Team Pts GD Sweden 5 2 Denmark 3 0 France 2 −1 England 2 −1
He somehow managed to keep his job and England returned home to focus on the qualification for the 1994 World Cup to be held in the USA. Giggs would undoubtedly be an important player by the 1994 World Cup.
Last edited by james31; June 7th, 2011 at 06:09 PM..