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Angel di Maria must improve to earn Ryan Giggs comparison

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Angel di Maria is a player with huge potential. He could go on to become a Manchester United legend.

But, to compare him to Ryan Giggs at this stage of his Red Devils career is quite simply ludicrous. He's shown glimpses of what he can do since moving to the Premier League in the summer, but hasn't necessarily set the division alight like some expected.

Big signings

Louis van Gaal was drafted in to make changes at Old Trafford following the failed reign of David Moyes, and he went about his business at significant expense during the transfer window before the start of the current season.

Di Maria had just been named man of the match in Real Madrid's 4-1 extra-time win over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final, and joined the Red Devils with the weight of expectation on his shoulders.

He's since made 17 appearances in the English top flight, scoring three goals and creating 7. It's a good return in his first season, and his flashes of brilliance have not gone unnoticed by teammates.

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"There are players who have got tricks and can drop the shoulder to go past players, but he is so direct in his play. It is almost like Giggsy used to be in many ways," teammate Michael Carrick told the official Manchester United website.

"When he picks that ball up he can carry it and change direction pretty quickly, so it is very tough to defend against – especially if he is doing through the middle of the park."

Carrick is not saying that Di Maria is as good as Ryan Giggs, of course. But when you start mentioning players in the same breath, there is a certain level of expectation that comes with that.

Giggs record

During his 24-years as a professional at Old Trafford, the Welsh winger showed a level of consistency that most players can only dream about. He was rarely injured and kept himself in fantastic shape.

As Carrick mentioned though, he also had both speed and skill to beat players and either create or score chances. That's something that Di Maria also has in the bag, and he's shown it on a couple of occasions.

Despite the 5-3 defeat, he was brilliant at Leicester City earlier in the season, and again in midweek against Burnley he was the one true creative spark in Van Gaal's struggling side.

Consistency is key

Di Maria is an exciting player - the type of player that fans love and lathe in equal measure. One day he can be brilliant; the next he can be simply not good enough. The former Rosario Central starlet has more good days than bad days, to be fair.

Giggs built his reputation with high performance levels week in, week out for Sir Alex Ferguson during his reign at Manchester United. That's why he played so many games.

Van Gaal would love to be able to rely on Di Maria like Ferguson did with Giggs, but that can only come in time. It's notoriously difficult to get up to speed with the pace of the Premier League in a first season, and with that in mind the Argentine's goals and assists numbers are good.

Verdict

However, he's not on a par with Giggs. Not even close. Di Maria will have to improve in a number of areas if he is to earn such praise in the years ahead. As part of that, he'll also need to commit his long-term future to the club and try to end any speculation over a move away from Old Trafford.

What do you think Manchester United fans? Does Angel di Maria deserve comparisons with Ryan Giggs or does he still have some way to go?

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Topics:
Football
Ryan Giggs
Premier League
Manchester United

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