Ryan Giggs, footballer

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The football icon says "You've got to work hard and have that hunger to want to succeed."

Matt Jones: What advice would you give to all those kids out there who want to be like Ryan Giggs?

Ryan Giggs: They need to work hard. If you want to be successful in football it doesn't matter how much talent you've got, you've got to work hard. You've got to have that hunger to want to succeed.

You sometimes have barriers in front of you. When I was 17-years-old Lee Sharpe was in front of me. I didn't think there was anyway I could take his position because he was flying at the time. Unlucky for Sharpie he got an injury. I got into the team and never really looked back after that.

MJ: Did you have to make sacrifices to get to the top?

RG: You've got to make sacrifices. I've missed best mates' and families' 18th and 21st birthdays, Christmas, New Years Eve. I haven't been out on New Year's Eve for the last 15 years because we always play on New Year's Day. They're the sacrifices you make to do what you love to do.

MJ: Also, you've got to grab the opportunity with both hands when it comes along?

RG: If that chance comes you've got to be ready to take it. I think that comes down to hunger. Make sure you're ready for the challenge and don't let yourself down - work hard.

I've gone to trials and thought 'I've not played well there', that can happen. As long as you work hard, the next time you'll have the ability and people will see that. The coaches will see that, teachers will see that. I've always said the foundations of success are working hard and enjoying yourself.

MJ: Does self-discipline come easy to you?

Profile

Name:
Ryan Joseph Giggs, OBE

Born:
29 November 1973

From:
Cardiff

Game:
Football

Clubs:
Manchester United (1990-Present)

International Caps:
64 (retired)

Achievements:

  • BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2009
  • BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2009
  • Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year award 2009
  • Premiership Titles: 10
  • UEFA Champion's League Titles: 2
  • European Cup Winner's Cup: 1
  • FA Cup Titles: 4
  • League Cup Titles: 2
  • Community Shield Titles: 5
  • UEFA Super Cup: 1
  • FA Youth Cup Titles: 1
  • Made an OBE, 11 December 2007

RG: Yeah it does. I've not known any different really from 13/14-years-old when I was playing in the youth team. You've got to eat the right food, get the right amount of sleep and rest. Then you've got to carry it on.

There's always going to be temptation. It's easy for your mates to say 'C'mon let's go out for a drink', you've just got to be strong. Sometimes it's good to go out and relax with your friends, you need that, but you need to do it at the right times. Make sure you manage yourself well so you get the best out of yourself.

MJ: Everyone knows your strengths but what are your weaknesses?

RG: Chocolate. When I was injured the last time I didn't eat any chocolate because I wanted to keep the fat down. I was quite pleased with myself. As soon as I was back playing I was back on the chocolate.

MJ: You need a balance don't you. It's ok to eat chocolate, but at the same time you've got to work hard?

RG: Of course you have. You know it's things in small doses really. If you like a bar of chocolate then have some, but not 3 or 4 bars every night. If you like to go out and have a few beers, have 3 or 4, but don't go stupid. You need to relax. There's a lot of pressure on footballers so you need to let off steam, but you need to do it at the right times.

MJ: There's a lot of talk of obesity in the media at the moment. Kids grow up in front of their computers wanting to be Ryan Giggs, surely it's better to get out there and kick a ball?

RG: Yeah. You could never get me off the streets. My mum had to call me in every night. I was out playing football; kicking the ball against a wall or kicking the ball around the house.

If you want a healthy lifestyle you have to eat right and exercise. Whatever sport you like, whether it be rugby or tennis or whatever, it's definitely important that you have exercise in your life.

MJ: And just to encourage kids who can't kick a ball straight, surely you've smashed a few windows in your time?

RG: Oh definitely yeah. I've had the next door neighbours coming round to my house a few times. So yeah, just make sure you're not smashing windows when you're out playing.


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