Ryan Giggs hoping to keep 40th birthday secret from Man United team-mates

Ryan Giggs turns 40 in November. Photo: PA

Man United veteran Ryan Giggs is trying to keep his birthday a secret in order to avoid the dressing-room banter that will inevitably accompany reaching the big 40.

The evergreen Manchester United star is set to join an exclusive club later this season.

Former team-mate Teddy Sheringham, one-time United wide-man Gordon Strachan and more recently Kevin Phillips are the only outfield players to appear in the Premier League beyond their 40th birthday.

When he signed his latest one-year contract extension last season, Giggs knew he would be joining them.

And whilst he is not too bothered about reaching the point when life is traditionally supposed to begin, he is acutely aware more mischievous team-mates will want to make an issue of it.

"Apparently 40 is the new 30 so I am looking forward to it," Giggs told United Review.

"I know it is quite daunting for some people but you just have to embrace it, not worry too much about it and just enjoy yourself.

"I've never really put too much stock in my age - to me it is more about how you feel and I feel pretty good at the moment.

"That said, I might try and keep my birthday a secret from all the lads when it comes round. That might prove tough though."

It certainly will as it is hardly classified information Giggs' birthday is on November 29.

By then Giggs hopes United will have sealed their qualification for the Champions League knockout phase.

For, having opened their campaign with victory over Bayer Leverkusen a fortnight ago, the Red Devils head to Ukraine on Wednesday for an encounter with Shakhtar Donetsk which, on paper, looks like being their toughest assignment.

New manager David Moyes is breaking new ground in the competition.

The same is obviously not true of Giggs, who won the trophy in 1999 and 2008 but was denied a shot at a hat-trick last term when Nani's controversial red card was a significant factor in United's progress being halted by Real Madrid last season.

"It does take a few years to get used to European football," said Giggs.

"It's different to playing in the Premier League.

"For that reason I think the young lads who now have a couple of seasons' experience under their belts will contribute even more this time around."

Moyes' team selection will be interesting.

Sandwiched between two important Premier League games, it requires a juggling act Sir Alex Ferguson perfected over 17 consecutive group stage campaigns.

Yet for his successor, it is still a step into the unknown.

"It is new to me," he said.

"I had a very good squad at Everton but I didn't have the numbers I have got here at Manchester United."