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Page last updated at 17:18 GMT, Monday, 27 April 2009 18:18 UK

Giggs not my choice, says Hartson

Ryan Giggs
Player of the Year Ryan Giggs received a standing ovation

Former Wales striker John Hartson has congratulated Ryan Giggs on his player of the year award - but says he would not have voted for his ex-team-mate.

Hartson said he would have opted for fellow Manchester United veteran, Edwin van der Sar for the Professional Footballers' Association crown.

"Personally, he probably wouldn't have got my vote, Van der Sar would have," Hartson told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"He is instrumental in where Man Utd are right now in the league."

The winner of the PFA Player of the Year award is voted for by his peers and 35-year-old Giggs topped the ballot despite only having started 12 games this season.

Hartson, 34, praised Van der Sar's clean-sheet efforts which saw the Dutchman break a Premier League record this term and said Giggs had only been the best player of the season in "fits and starts".

But former Celtic forward Hartson, who retired from international football in 2006, still insisted that his former compatriot deserved to lift the award and said it was a travesty it had not happened sooner.

"It was probably very, very close but you cannot deny Ryan this," he added. "The 12 games that he's started he's been brilliant, when he's come off the bench he's been effective, he's affected games and he's done it for so long and it is fitting that he's won it really.

"If I was voting I probably would have voted for Van der Sar. Ryan is a friend of mine, I played with Ryan for 10 years with the national team but nobody in the right frame of mind would deny him of this trophy because it's a travesty why he hasn't won it before now really, how consistent he's been over the years."

Giggs, who has won two PFA young player of the year awards, made his debut for Manchester United as a 17-year-old and has won four FA Cups, three League Cups and two Champions League medals with the club.

Speaking on the same programme, PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor insisted the player had won the votes of his contemporaries.


"I understand why people are saying about Ryan Giggs but he was nominated as long ago as 15 years and in the early 1990s he was young player," said Taylor.

"He's been nominated countless occasions since and I can't believe one of the top six of any of the others would deny him the right to have the one trophy he's not had in his cabinet.

"Sometimes you can make a big impact in relatively few games and he's still capable of showing his skill at his age now as when he was nominated 15 years ago."

And Taylor defended the timing of the award, although did not rule out a change in the future.

"There may well be but it has its own slot now and in general, for the vast majority, the players have been spot on," said Taylor.

"You could have one match of Ryan Giggs which could be worth 40 of another player, so sometimes you don't just drink the best wine in the world every night of the week but it can have a long-lasting effect.

"Ryan's been a man for all seasons and nobody can deny him.

"The reception he got last night was fantastic, the audience were on their feet for five minutes giving him a standing ovation and we've not had too many of those."

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see also
Giggs earns prestigious PFA award
26 Apr 09 |  Football
Archive - Giggs causes a stir in 1994
21 May 08 |  Football
Man Utd record delights Ferguson
27 Jan 09 |  Man Utd
Hartson retires from Wales duties
06 Feb 06 |  Internationals

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