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Inside Matters: Preparation and prevention vital for Giggs

6 Jun 2020
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Former Man Utd winger explains how his approach for avoiding injury also helped him find a new daily structure when he retired

After winning a record 13 Premier League titles and playing in the top flight until the age of 40, Ryan Giggs is known for his consistency and longevity.

But it was not always that way. Indeed, there was a period when the Manchester United great suffered a series of frustrating hamstring problems.

One such setback, which happened in training the night before a UEFA Champions League match against Bayern Munich, was particularly hard to take.

"I remember going back to the hotel that night and it was that bad that I'm thinking, 'I feel like quitting'," says Giggs in the 10th part of "Inside Matters", a series of exclusive interviews with football stars about the mental challenges they have faced.

"Of course a couple of days went by and I settled down, but I got that low that I wanted to quit because I was sick of this recurring hamstring thing."

""It was more trying to prevent it, rather than doing all these things after I had got the injury.”"

Ryan Giggs

In his mid to late twenties the Welsh winger decided to get ahead of the problem and do everything he could to avoid further spells on the sidelines.

"That involved a number of things: changing my diet, doing yoga, doing different stretches before and after training," says Giggs.

"Ice baths came into the equation, massages. I then went to see an osteopath quite regularly. It was more trying to prevent it, rather than doing all these things after I had got the injury."

Giggs ended up making a total of 632 Premier League appearances for Man Utd over the course of 22 seasons.

And, when he eventually retired, he again sought to prevent possible problems before they arose.

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"The thing that I was going to find most difficult was that, for once in my life, I didn't have structure," he says. "I didn't have a purpose to get up, to go into training.

"It was something that I wanted to prepare myself for, so I spoke to a sports psychologist.

"He just gave me little pointers: 'Why don't you pick a gym that's a little bit further out? Half an hour's drive there, work out for an hour. Take a shower, have a bit of lunch.

'Half an hour's drive back and before you know it it's midday, so that's half the day gone.'

"So I found it tough, but also I tried to prepare myself."

Also in this series 

See: Inside Matters: Stars discuss mental health challenges

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