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Sep, 14, 2012

United trio to pass landmarks

Sir Alex Ferguson has paid tribute to his three most experienced players, as the Manchester United trio prepare to reach milestones.

• Kagawa keen to bulk up

Paul Scholes, 37, is set to play his 700th game for the club in all competitions when Wigan visit Old Trafford on Saturday while Ryan Giggs, 38, will become the first man to make 600 Premier League appearances if he takes the field.

And Rio Ferdinand, 33, will represent United for the 400th time with Ferguson attributing their longevity to the sacrifices they have made, meaning between the three of them they will have made over 2000 appearances for the club.

Giggs has played 910 times for United, a club record, having debuted in 1991. He turns 39 in November and is the only player to appear in all 21 seasons of the Premier League.

And Ferguson tipped him to carry into his 40s, saying: "My personal feeling is that Ryan can play for another couple of years."

Scholes initially retired in 2011 but returned in January and will join Giggs and Sir Bobby Charlton in the select group of footballers to have played 700 times for United.

Ferguson said: "Paul's a different physical specimen to Ryan and he's had his injuries - two knee injuries, and an eye injury - and yet he's playing his 700th game. It's phenomenal."

Ferdinand joined United from Leeds in 2002 and completed a decade at Old Trafford this summer. Since the retirements of Gary Neville and Edwin van der Sar, he has been the third most senior figure on the playing staff.

"Rio's playing his 400th game," Ferguson said. "It's a landmark for the three players and it's a great example to the younger players about what can be achieved if they sacrifice in football. These players have done that or they would never have got to this stage."

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