Sunday Express - Sun 16 Dec 2001 - Page 111

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thanks to trickery of Welsh wizard and poacher Van Nistelrooy Livewire Giggs supplies spark JOHN RICHARDSON Timing is all as Beckham takes a rest: Rob Shepherd PAGE 109 Football Other sports

at The Riverside MANCHESTER UTD 0 1 T HAS been pantomime season for Manchester United and so it was no surprise that Sir Alex Ferguson rubbed the magic lamp and a genie appeared c I alled Ryan Giggs. The introduction of the livewire Welshman a few weeks ahead of schedule could not have been a better gift for the Old Trafford boss had he been wrapped in tinsel and placed under Fergie's Christmas tree. Having Giggs available for the first time since November 17 helped inject some much-needed vitality into a side which had struggled to move out of first gear. It seems strange that you pay 28.1million for one of the top midfield men in the world and for much of the game isolate him on the right wing while Becks and Victoria go Christmas shopping. United just about deserved it for stepping up the tempo after a laboured first half although Roy Carroll, in for the rested Fabien Barthez, did well to deny Boro substitute Noel Whelan 10 minutes from the end. Butt had a better-executed header ruled out for offside before Ferguson delivered his trump card, the 65th minute introduction of Giggs.

INSIDE THE Sport

SPORT FEATURE Steve Bruce admits it's make or break at Birmingham after his loyalty has been called into question l Page 99.

SPORT FEATURE

Lee Bowyer, who walked free from court last week, must now prove he is good enough for England l Page 101.

THE SPORTING LAUGH

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