Wenger lauds Giggs and Henry longevity

The Arsenal boss was full of praise for both the Manchester United midfielder and the New York Red Bulls man, saying he is not surprised that the pair are still playing
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hailed Ryan Giggs and Thierry Henry, saying their "exceptional qualities" mean they are able to keep performing at the top despite their advancing years.

Giggs, who turns 40 on Friday, is still turning out impressive displays for Manchester United, not least his performance in the 5-0 Champions League win at Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.

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Henry, 36, remains one of the stars of Major League Soccer, playing for New York Red Bulls, and Wenger feels the pair have certain attributes that mean they can still contribute significantly against younger opposition.

“If I’m 20 per cent above the normal level at a young age and I drop 10 per cent, I'm still 10 per cent above everybody else. That's what happened to Ryan Giggs,”  Wenger told Arsenal Player.

“What he has done is absolutely exceptional. I always thought that Ryan Giggs did not always get the reward or the recognition for his quality and his huge career because he did not play in the World Cup and the European Championship.

“You look at his club career - it's absolutely unbelievable. The quality of his performances show a masterclass at 40. What is very remarkable in his case is that he has turned from being an individual player into being a good passer and a collective player.

“That is a very difficult transformation and that shows you that he not only had individual quality but the intelligence and understanding of the game as well."

Henry, who is currently training with the Gunners, returned to the club on loan in 2012, and Wenger added: “People like Thierry Henry [also] had exceptional qualities.

"They would run 100 metres in 11 seconds when everybody else did it in 12.5 or 13. So if today they are running it in 12, they are still quicker.

“They start from a huge potential and that's why at that age they can still survive, because they have the football intelligence. They had exceptional physical qualities at the start.”