By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger has the utmost respect for Ryan Giggs.

The Manchester United winger won his first PFA Player of the Year award at the weekend, more than 18 years after making his debut.

A few eyebrows were raised when the 35-year-old pipped the likes of Nemanja Vidic and Steven Gerrard to this season’s prize – Giggs has only started 12 Premier League games this term after all – but Wenger believes he was a deserving winner.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the Arsenal manager pointed out that you need more than skill to prosper at the top level for so long.

“He has been named Player of the Year and there is a big debate about ‘oh but this year was not his best year in his career’,” said Wenger.

“But I have a big respect for Ryan Giggs. He started his career in 1991 and we are in 2009. When a player has spent 18 years at that level you have to have complete respect when you know what it demands - the sacrifices, the focus.

“To be 18 years at the top level, that is massive.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 28 Apr 2009