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Dec 21, 2012

Fergie: Veterans to play on

Sir Alex Ferguson has denied reports that an era at Manchester United will end with Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs retiring in the summer and Rio Ferdinand leaving the club.

• Blog: Madrid stirs the blood

The United manager said Giggs, the club's longest-serving footballer, could play on into his 40s as he tipped the 39-year-old Welshman to continue his 22-season first-team career at Old Trafford for another couple of years.

And he praised Ferdinand for his form while rejecting talk that the famously quiet Scholes, 38, would have told outsiders he was planning to quit next year.

Ferguson said: "I would be surprised if Paul had spoken to someone without speaking to me - and he hasn't - so we can dismiss that."

All three are out of contract next summer but Giggs and Scholes have only signed one-year deals in recent years while Ferguson has previously hinted that Ferdinand, who turned 34 last month, could extend his 10-year stay with United.

Scholes retired for the first time in 2011 and returned in January before signing a contract extension in May and has now made 710 United appearances - a total exceeded by only Giggs and Sir Bobby Charlton.

Giggs was also reported to be considering retirement but Ferguson said the winger, who has made 921 appearances since he debuted in 1991, might still be playing in the 2014-15 campaign.

He explained: "Ryan could play for another year or two. Rio has been terrific. The speculation comes from our policy of only giving older players one-year contracts."

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