Ryan Giggs, Lee DixonGetty composite

Man Utd legend Giggs reveals why Arsenal great Lee Dixon was one of toughest opponents

Manchester United great Ryan Giggs has named Lee Dixon as the one of the most difficult opponents he faced during his illustrious playing career.

The Welshman came up against a host of world-class full-backs during his 14 years in the United first team, but it was the Arsenal right-back who troubled him the most.

“I often say Lee Dixon was one of the most difficult opponents because he was quickish, but also intelligent. He always got his distances right, which not all full-backs do, especially quick ones, because they always think that they can get out of jail,” Giggs told The Coaches' Voice

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“Dixon always got that distance right and you couldn’t spin him behind. And, if you did get the ball to feet he was up to you to stop you from turning or hurry you into making a decision.”

The pair battled on many occasions over the 90s and early 2000s but Giggs, who made over 900 appearances in the famous Red Devils shirt, preferred facing Dixon in Manchester rather than London.

“Highbury was a tight pitch so I enjoyed playing against him more at Old Trafford,” the former United winger said. 

“Highbury wasn’t really a winger’s dream, it was tight and they had that experience from David Seaman, through the defence to midfield. They were really strong in defensively. I had many battles with him over the years. He was intelligent brave and also made you run back as well. 

“Very often the toughest opponents I’ve played against like Cafu and [Javier] Zanetti would make you defend as well and make you run back.”  

Giggs’ pace made him a nightmare for defenders to play against and he was sometimes just as effective with the ball as he was without it.

“I tried to not only intimidate them by running in behind constantly,” Giggs said. “If I did have the ball I could penetrate players and if I didn’t have it I was prepared to run in behind and cause problems. I wanted to stamp my authority on the full-back and it was always cat and mouse.”