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Jul 26, 2012

Giggs hunting Team GB gold

Ryan Giggs has admitted Olympic gold with Team GB would sit alongside his European Cup triumphs with Manchester United as he prepares for Thursday's opening clash with Senegal.

Giggs, 38, will make a long-awaited debut at an international tournament when the sides run out at Old Trafford, after a 21-year career that has brought much success at club level.

As the senior statesman in an inexperienced GB side, a lot of responsibility will fall on Giggs' shoulders to guide his side through the coming games.

"I'm really looking forward to it. I've enjoyed every bit of the preparation," Giggs told the Guardian. "I'm still disappointed I never got to a major championship with Wales, but we weren't good enough to get to a European Championship or World Cup.

"To get the chance to play in a tournament at such a late stage of my career is obviously one I'm excited about and looking forward to.

"Of course, you want to win every game and win the tournament. We know it's going to be tough - but having seen the quality of our team over the last few weeks, we're hopeful of going a long way.

"An Olympic gold would be up there with my European medals. I don't like to prioritise any medal or trophy, because it's always a good feeling when you win."

Giggs played 63 minutes of Team GB's 2-0 warm-up defeat to Brazil and spoke about the excitement of taking part in the Olympic Games and all that the competition has to offer.

As part of the team's preparations, Giggs and his team-mates received an introduction to the Olympic principles from double gold medal winner, Kelly Holmes.

He added: "Kelly Holmes gave us a welcome speech and she gave us a great insight to what the Olympic experience is all about. We couldn't have had anyone better speaking to us and the lads realised it's different. It's not something which will come around every year and it is one you want to enjoy being part of. All the lads have embraced it.

"We were fortunate enough to go the village last week and even the kitting out, which took two hours, the walk round the Olympic Village and seeing other athletes from other sports have been good experiences. As Stuart has said, it's about going back to the clubs and telling them what a great experience you've had and hopefully doing well in the tournament.

"The day we were with the divers and the swimmers and the lads were chatting to them, you get a chance to speak to other athletes who normally you wouldn't get a chance to spend time with. But the bottom line is we're playing football matches and you want to win football matches and that's what we're trying to do."

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