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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 May 2007, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Giggs retirement shocks Saunders
Former Wales striker Dean Saunders
Saunders says Giggs is the best player he played with
Former Wales striker Dean Saunders believes Ryan Giggs is too young to retire from international football.

Giggs, 33, announced his retirement on Wednesday and Saunders said: "It's a shock. I was 37 when I stopped playing for Wales, so 33 seems awfully young.

"The proudest moments of my career were playing for Wales," added Saunders, who won 75 caps and scored 22 goals.

"It's a terrible wrench when you play your last game and actually realise you are not going to play for Wales again."

Giggs has just enjoyed one of his best seasons with Manchester United, winning his ninth Premier League title and being shortlisted for the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year award.

But the midfielder announced on Wednesday that Saturday's Euro 2008 qualifier against the Czech Republic in Cardiff would be his last appearance in a Wales shirt.

It was a pleasure to play with Ryan and he's done a magnificent job playing for Wales

Dean Saunders

Saunders believes Giggs would be able to play international football for another three years, but he accepts his decision to retire will help him prolong his club career.

"At his age, you're still able play the same, but you can't recover for the next game," Saunders told BBC Wales Sport.

"Instead of taking three or four days, it might take five or six days.

"He might think that if he wants to keep playing for Manchester United for another two years that he has to use the international weeks as rest."

Saunders was a senior figure in the Wales team when Giggs made his debut as a 17-year-old in 1991.

And despite playing alongside greats such as Ian Rush and Mark Hughes, Saunders says Giggs stood out as the exceptional talent.

"I've played with some good players over the years but I would say that Ryan was probably the best player I've played with," he said.

"You get the full package with him. He's respectful of everyone, you never hear him saying anything ridiculous in the press or doing anything ridiculous.

"He's a terrific player and he conducts himself impeccably. It was a pleasure to play with Ryan and he's done a magnificent job playing for Wales.

"His decision to retire is a sad day for Welsh football."

SEE ALSO
Giggs ends international career
30 May 07 |  Internationals
Ryan Giggs career photos
30 May 07 |  Football


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