Ryan Giggs’ other numbers

When you have the same squad number for 23 seasons, as Ryan Giggs had, it’s hardly surprising that it’s the only one associated with you.

Giggs’ first three seasons with Manchester United were in the days of 1-11, though, and while his debut and only appearance in 1990-91, against Manchester City, saw him wear 11 and it was the only number he had in 1992-93, the 1991-92 campaign provided a bit of variation for him.

For the first half of the season, he made 11 his own as Lee Sharpe battled injury but from February to April of 1992 he wore six numbers other than that with which he’d become familiar. Luckily, we’ve looked up and catalogued these instances so you don’t have to.

No. 10 – February 5: Southampton (h, FA Cup fourth round replay, 2-2, lost 4-2 on penalties)

Having appeared as a sub in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal at Highbury four days beforehand, Giggs came into the side up front, as a direct replacement for Mark Hughes. Unfortunately for him, he missed a penalty in the shootout. Andrei Kanchelskis retained 11.

No. 2 – February 8: Sheffield Wednesday (h, 1-1)

Hughes came back into the side the following Saturday as United drew a fourth game in a row. Naturally, he regained the number 10 and Giggs had to play in number 2 as Paul Parker was dropped.

No. 4 – February 22: Crystal Palace (h, 2-0)

The FA Cup fifth round on February 15 meant that there was a fortnight before United’s next game, allowing Alex Ferguson to sensibly swap Giggs with Mal Donaghy, who had worn number 4 against Wednesday.

No. 4 – February 26: Chelsea (h, 1-1)

The only change from the Palace match was Gary Walsh replacing Peter Schmeichel in goal. Against Coventry City on February 29, Parker returned as Bryan Robson missed out. Parker took 2, Donaghy moved to 4, Kanchelskis was now 7 and Giggs went back to 11.

No. 5 – March 31: Norwich City (a, 3-1)

While Giggs had been 11 for the 0-0 draw away to Queens Park Rangers, the return to the side of Sharpe saw him take 11 and Giggs move to 5, which had been vacated by Mike Phelan. In the 1992-93 season, Sharpe would have to be content with 5 and it was his squad number from 1993-94 until he left at the start of 1996-97.

No. 7 – April 18: Luton Town (a, 1-1)

In the midst of a run of four games in seven days, Giggs surrendered the 11 he had worn against Southampton and took 7 as Kanchelskis was replaced by Sharpe, who scored United’s goal.

No. 10 – April 20: Nottingham Forest (h, 1-2)

Kanchelskis replaced Hughes and took 7 again, leaving Giggs with 10 as United’s title hopes took a massive dent.

No. 8 – April 22: West Ham (a, 0-1)

Hughes was back in the side at 10, though a second successive loss meant that the league was slipping away. Neil Webb was one of those dropped after the Forest game, allowing Giggs to take 8. Sharpe didn’t start either of the last two games, against Liverpool or Tottenham Hotspur, and Giggs wore 11. He would never again wear another number when starting a game for the club.

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