The days of Manchester United's Ryan Giggs being used as a winger by the Premier League champions are drawing to a close, manager Sir Alex Ferguson said on Friday.
Ferguson did not foresee an immediate end to Giggs's record-breaking career but admitted that he regarded the 34-year-old as a more central forward.
"That's where we played him the other night (in the League Cup against Middlesbrough)," Ferguson told reporters.
"The days for Ryan at nearly 35 years of age to tramp up and down the touchline are gone. He can maybe do it the odd time but I think that's beyond him now."
Despite his change of role, which saw him score a wonderful goal in United's 3-1 victory over Boro, Giggs's value to the United squad remains undiminished.
"All we have to do is manage it. He is looking absolutely brilliant just now but we want to have him nice and fresh at the end of the season because he can decide games for you. That's the great quality he has," Ferguson added.
Giggs is in United's squad for Saturday's game against struggling Bolton at Old Trafford when the defending champions will be looking for their first home league win of the season.
Despite their stuttering start, United have the same points tally as this stage of last season and Ferguson was encouraged by their performance in drawing at Chelsea on Sunday and in beating Middlesbrough.
"I think that will send us on our way and expect our form to pick up," he added.
Edwin van der Sar may return from injury for United, otherwise there will be a premier league debut for 18-year-old goalkeeper Ben Amos.