Ryan Giggs thought he had seen everything in a trophy-laden, 22-season career until David Moyes handed him a coaching role under the new Manchester United manager.
Now, despite United going down 1-0 to the Singha All Star XI in their opening pre-season tour game in Bangkok, Giggs is enthused about his career progression and youngsters headed by Wilfried Zaha, Adnan Januzaj and Jesse Lingard, who were the brightest lights here in the Rajamangala National Stadium.
"I am excited. Adnan did well – he looks a really good prospect," said Giggs of the 18-year-old Belgian debutant who stepped into the injured Wayne Rooney's No10 berth and sparkled with his quick feet and willingness to find space before fading in the sultry heat after the interval. "He has trained with us quite a bit in pre-season and did well again. Now it is just about having that experience and learning from the older players and doing what he does best. You don't want to get ahead of yourself. He is only young."
With Moyes shepherding a squad that has an absentee list which could rise to 10 following the tight hamstring suffered by Alexander Buttner in the opening period, the chance to shine was also seized by Zaha and Lingard, both 20, when they came on alongside Phil Jones on 63 minutes.
Giggs said: "Wilfried came on and was unlucky not to score and Jesse got some shots off as well. It was good experience for these lads to come on the tour, play in front of big crowds and get that experience. All the players I mentioned, not just Wilfried, are tremendous prospects. They are all exciting and will gain experience from games like this."
Zaha's shot came back off Narit Taweekul's right-hand post after the winger had smoothly made space for his left boot to unload.
Giggs has not yet reached a fortnight as Moyes's on-field lieutenant but already the 39-year-old's eyes have been opened. "It has worked well so far. I am excited about it personally. It is about getting the balancing act right because I am still playing. I have enjoyed it so far," he said.
"Regarding coaching, the manager likes to coach. There is Jim Lumsden, Steve Round, Phil Neville. There is not a big emphasis on that [for me] at the moment. It is looking behind the scenes and seeing how everything works. I am enjoying it so far.
"It is completely different from playing. Even though I have been playing for 20-odd years you are seeing the other side of it. You are seeing how you prepare for games. It is something I had not experienced as a player. Some things I knew, others I didn't. It has been a real education."
A 65,000 sell-out crowd filled almost completely with fans in United red saw Teeratep Winothai's 50th-minute strike consign Moyes's team to a defeat in their inaugural outing.
But as Giggs, who operated alongside Michael Carrick in central midfield in United's familiar 4-2-3-1, said: "It is about more than the result. We trained quite hard [on Friday]. You have to give credit to the team we played. They were good tonight. The result is disappointing but we are building for four or five weeks' time.
"It is always good to get the first game out of the way. We have had all the travelling. I have had 10 hours' sleep over the last three days. It is always good to get it out of the way. We will be better for it."
So, too, Zaha, making his debut after starting training with the club only last Monday. "It was an incredible feeling really, to come on and play with the likes of Rio [Ferdinand], Ryan Giggs, Anderson – knowing I was on the pitch with them was good enough for me," he said.
Of the strike that came close to making it a dream start, Zaha said: "I really just put my head down and tried to connect with the ball properly. It would have been a different story if it had gone in. I'm glad I had a go and it would have been a great day for me if I'd scored one. But it doesn't matter now."
Moyes, who was relaxed about the defeat, and United are in Sydney for the next leg of their three-week tour having flown immediately afterwards.