Ryan Giggs says training against 'the best young right-back in the world,' Rafael da Silva, keeps him up to Premier League pace.
Giggs, 36, has enjoyed a record breaking career with Manchester United and is about to begin his 19th season in the first team. While the winger has broken appearance records at Old Trafford, his Brazilian counterpart is only about to begin his third campaign with the club.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Giggs argued playing against the right-back has ensured he has to be at his best even as he enters the final years of his glittering spell with the Red Devils.
He said: “When you train with Rafael, he’s trying to kick you and it keeps you motivated.
“You’re against the best young right-back in Britain – probably the best in the world. You’ve got to be at your best just to stay in touch in training.
“If it was the case that I felt I was just making up the numbers or not contributing to the cause then I’d know it was time retire.
“But for the last few years I’ve taken it as it comes. I still feel good and I’ve just signed a contract extension. I know I won’t be able to play every game, but with sports science nowadays, players take more care of themselves and their careers are going on longer.
“I know I can’t fly up and down the wing anymore so I’ve had to change my game and evolve.
“I’m the same as Gary Nevile and Paul Scholes. We’d never be happy just getting into the team on reputation. You always want make an impact and if that stops happening I think we’d pack in."
Despite Giggs’ high praise of his team-mate, Rafael has some way to go if he wants to be amongst Europe’s elite. The Brazilian currently sits 1358th in the latest edition of the Castrol Rankings.