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Money could motivate footballers to play past 40, says Manchester United's Giggs

The Red Devils legend is currently 39-years-old, but a recent one-year contract extension means he, like Teddy Sheringham and Gordon Strachan, will play into his forties.

Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs believes it could become common to see players still active in their late 30s thanks to lucrative contracts and technological advancements.

Giggs made his league debut for the Red Devils in March 1991 at the age of 17, and 22 years later he is still active, making his 1000th career appearance this season.

The former Wales international signed a new one-year contract on March 1 meaning he will become only the third outfield player to play top-flight soccer past the age of 40, and he feels such long careers could become more common.

“There are two ways of looking at it," Giggs told reporters. "Players are getting a lot of money now. Do they want to play on to their late 30s?

“But there is the other side. With the involvement of sports science, players looking after themselves more — and the facilities are so much better.

“So if they want to, and if they have the desire, players can go on a lot longer than they used to. As you enter your 30s, you are just trying to play for as long as you can and get as much out of the game as you can. Luckily, I have managed to stay injury free and also had the continuity of the manager.

“I have looked after myself as well, but no one could envisage getting to 1000 games.”

United has a busy weekend approaching as it travels to Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday before heading down to Stamford Bridge for the FA Cup quarterfinal replay against Chelsea, and Giggs finds the idea of playing two games in three days bizarre.

“It is strange to have two important games in such a short space of time," he said. "But I guess it was a question of trying to fit it in.

“The squad is looking good at the minute and hopefully after the international break everyone will have a fully fit squad and we will be able to handle two games in 48 hours.”

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