Gary Pallister remains as captivated by Ryan Giggs as he was when he first clapped eyes on the Manchester United superstar almost a quarter of a century ago. “The gaffer said he was going to be a star,” said Pallister. “I thought, ‘That’s a big statement, he’s only a 15-year-old kid’. “But there he was, this spindly-looking lad running amok up and down the left-hand side playing against opponents who were 16 or 17. “He was absolutely terrific.” Within two years, Pallister and the ‘kid’, who had changed his name to Giggs after his parents split, were team-mates. That season they won the League Cup, the following year the Premier League, one of four they were to be involved in, two of which turned into Double-winning campaigns. Now retired for 12 years and carving out a niche for himself as a TV pundit, Pallister can only watch on with scarcely believable admiration as the ‘teenager’ prepares to turn 40. He may no longer be quite able to be compared with the ‘piece of silver paper floating on the wind’ as Ferguson once did, but, mostly in central midfield, Giggs is still able to produce high-class performances that make him worthy of a place in David Moyes’ squad. “It’s about time he retired, isn’t it?” laughed Pallister. “He is keeping young kids out of the game. “What can you say about him? I still love watching him play. “I obviously played with him for seven years, watched him mature and become the player he is now – one of the best to ever don the shirt of Manchester United.” Giggs’ records are the stuff of legend. Thirteen Premier League titles, two European Cups amid four final appearances, four FA Cups, three League Cups. And a staggering number of games for his one and only professional club. One of Moyes’ first tasks after replacing Ferguson as manager was to offer Giggs a first-team coaching role. Many believe it will be the initial step towards Giggs one day taking over as manager in his own right. For now, he is combining roles. Observing from the bench on occasion, sometimes in the stand. But also on the pitch, where he has done so much damage to opposition teams down the years. And from what Pallister has seen, he is still capable of causing it. “He is still making an impact,” said the former England star. “He can still play on that left-hand side of midfield, never mind centre-midfield, and still make a difference. “We all recognise Ryan is not going to play as many games as most players in that squad, but when he does play, he is fit and ready. “David Moyes has already used him. And believe me, there is no sympathy vote from him. “Ryan is getting used because he can play an important part in this Manchester United team.” Press Association After making a high-profile move from Middlesbrough to United in 1989, Pallister was still kicking his heels at a local hotel with fellow new-boy Paul Ince when he was invited to watch the Red Devils’ youth team in action. Sir Alex Ferguson was also present and prior to kick-off advised the duo to pay particular attention to a youngster on the wing who went by the name of Ryan Wilson.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on August 31, 2019 at 9:21 pm Contact Andrew: firstname.lastname@example.org | @A_E_Graham LYNCHBURG, Va. — No. 22 Syracuse (1-0) overcame a sloppy start and a nearly nonexistent passing game to shut down Liberty (0-1), 24-0, at Williams Stadium on Saturday in its 2019 season opener. The Orange committed two turnovers, only scored three points in the first quarter and struggled to consistently move the ball through the air. But thanks to a dominant showing from the defense and a trio of running backs, SU managed to generate the offense it needed to get out of Lynchburg with a win.Here are three reactions from the win.Sloppy startBy the end of the first quarter, each team had an interception, a fumble, a failed third-down conversion, numerous penalties and a grand total of three points to show for a quarter of football both teams would like to quickly forget. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe contest started with each team trading three-and-outs when on Liberty’s ensuing punt after three-straight incompletions, wide receiver Sean Riley coughed up the ball crossing midfield. LU recovered, promptly drove to the red zone and missed a field goal. SU took the ball back and punted again. Liberty put together a good drive to inside SU’s 5-yard line and then Trill Williams forced a fumble from behind. Then SU got to midfield, DeVito took a shot to Nykeim Johnson but underthrew the pass and was intercepted. On Liberty’s following possession, SU brought a six-man rush on third down and, with a blitzer in his face, LU quarterback Stephen Calvert whipped a blind pass straight into the gut of SU’s Ifeatu Melifonwu. On the following drive, SU finally scored as Andre Szmyt pushed a 45-yard field goal through. During the messy first quarter, each team got called for a personal foul and at least two other penalties. Tommy DeVito finished the frame 3-for-8 passing for 21 yards with an interception and Calvert only went 6-for-12 for 107 yards, also with an interception. It was the kind of sloppy, disjointed start Syracuse head coach Dino Babers warned could hamstring the Orange against a feisty Liberty squad. They were lucky it didn’t. Defensive line dominatesSyracuse’s defensive line is its best position group. It asserted that on Saturday by living in the Liberty backfield, totaling eight sacks plus six more tackles for loss from 10 different players. Leading the charge were two seniors: Kendall Coleman and Josh Black. By attacking Liberty’s pass protection and run schemes from the outside and inside, respectively, Coleman and Black were at times unblockable. Twice in the game, SU went to a three-man defensive front on third-and-long passing situations. Both times, Coleman split a double team and sacked Calvert. Black was more opportunistic. In the third quarter, Coleman came off the edge, forcing Calvert up in the pocket and right toward the awaiting Black. Elsewhere on SU’s line, senior end Alton Robinson, who like Coleman finished 2018 with 10 sacks, constantly collapsed the pocket and pressured Calvert. Midway through the second quarter, Liberty blocked Robinson with a double-team. The right tackle turned him inward to the right guard, who Robinson bull rushed and planted his behind on the turf in a split second, just as Calvert threw the ball away. Even Curtis Harper, a redshirt sophomore defensive end, got in on the action, picking up half a sack. The other 1.5 sacks went to Kingsley Jonathan. All night, whenever Calvert dropped back, he was almost regularly joined by a much bigger player from the other team. Running back by committeeWithout much by way of a consistent passing offense — DeVito and his receivers looked out of sync while the offensive line was shaky early — SU turned to a three-pronged rushing attack of Moe Neal, Abdul Adams and Jarveon Howard.The trio combined for 170 rushing yards, three touchdowns and provided SU’s offense a way to move the ball and maintain possession when there wasn’t an option otherwise — they even provided a large chunk of what SU managed to eke out of the passing game via screens and swing passes.Their respective performances all started by grinding out short to medium gains in the first half. Adams was the first to find pay dirt, bullying his way into the end zone from two yards out in the second quarter for SU’s first touchdown. As Liberty’s defensive front wore down in the second half, SU’s rushing attack picked up momentum. From the 1-yard line in a goal line set, Howard bounced an inside handoff out to the right side. A Liberty defender wrapped around Howard’s ankles but the sophomore fell forward while reaching the ball out and crossing the plane, putting SU up, 17-0.Neal delivered the knockout blow in the fourth quarter. Facing fourth-and-one from the Liberty 41-yard line, DeVito took a snap from under center, turned and handed it to Neal. Neal burst through the A-gap untouched and took it the rest of the way, putting SU up 24-0 and the game out of reach. Comments