Ryan Giggs is playing a game of patience at Manchester United this season but remains as enthusiastic as ever.
A star performer for the Great Britain Olympic team during the summer, Giggs has found it rather harder to make an impact since his return to Old Trafford.
Although he made his sixth appearance of the season in Tuesday night's Champions League win over Braga, three of those added up to just 22 minutes' action as late substitutions. The last time he started, Giggs was hauled off at half-time in the disappointing home defeat to Tottenham. It is an unusual situation for the 38-year-old, who nevertheless remains as enthusiastic as ever for the challenges that lie ahead, and fully prepared to play whatever part Sir Alex Ferguson has in store.
"With the players we have I don't expect to start every game," said Giggs.
"I am just trying to pick up games wherever I can and influence them like I have done in the past.
"I haven't found it difficult. I want to play and I want to be in the team.
"But I am experienced enough to know that come the business end of the season, the experienced lads will be needed and I will be ready."
Given the various choices at his disposal, it does seem unlikely Giggs will be required to start at Chelsea on Sunday. It represents another step in the slow evolution away from the Class of 92, who were the platform for Ferguson's first Champions League-winning team. Yet that slow process is nothing compared to the Chelsea revolution. Suggestions that Roman Abramovich told his players he held them responsible for Andre Villas-Boas' early exit have certainly been borne out by the speed with which Chelsea's mega-rich owner has reshaped his squad.
The departure of Champions League final hero Didier Drogba and long-serving midfielder Michael Essien have allowed Roberto di Matteo to completely reshape his squad. Eden Hazard and Oscar have had immediate impacts and their form, in tandem with Juan Mata, has helped cover up Fernando Torres' failure to rediscover the ability that earned him such praise at Liverpool.
"Chelsea are a talented team," said Giggs.
"They have changed the personnel a bit with Oscar, Hazard and Mata, who play in those little pockets and are so hard to pick up.
"Only time will tell if they are better. But it doesn't really matter because you know you are up against a very good team when you pay Chelsea, and it will always be tough at Stamford Bridge."
United last won a league game at the Bridge in 2002, although they did emerge triumphant in the 2011 Champions League quarter-final. And the corresponding fixture last season must have felt like a victory after United recovered from three goals down to snatch a draw. Ferguson and his team should approach the game in more confident mood too given they are the ones who were successful in midweek. However, Giggs knows that damning statistic of conceding the first goal in eight matches out of 12 this term has to be erased.
"There are two ways of looking at it," he said.
"Obviously we are pleased that we are able to come back and have shown great character in those eight games.
"But you cannot keep relying on the lads up front to score the goals. "It is something we have looked at and are still looking at. "It has happened again against Braga but against Chelsea if we go behind it will be tough to come back."