Kevin Pilkington, member of the 1992 Youth Cup winning team who came through the same Fergie Fledglings production line as Paul Scholes, shares his thoughts on the retiring United legend with 7Cantonas.com.
Scholes has earned his place as one of United’s best ever players, but it wasn’t always obvious just in which role he would end up. Older supporters could spot his awareness already though, as Kevin explains.
“I always thought Paul was a very good player but I never thought he would become one of the best midfielders this country has ever seen,” admits Kevin. “My Dad said to me after seeing him play for the first time that he was going to be a great player (a very good judge!). He was always a very technical player but he was only small back then but once he developed a bit more he had the whole package (apart from tackling!). Every one remembers what an impact he had against Port Vale and since then he has never looked back. A lot of people think he is very quiet but in and around the changing room he was always very cheeky and had a great sense of humour!”
The Ginger Price broke through at a period where United were blessed with many great young midfielders. Kevin recalls, “At that time you obviously had Becks and Butty as well as Paul and all three have been great players for United. At a young age he was just behind them but once he got his chance there was no stopping him. As a youngster his goal scoring was unbelievable. He would always pop up with important goals. The last few years he hasn’t scored as many but his influence on games is just as great. He never seems to give the ball away and his range of passing is second to none!”
Few have had the privilege of being a United supporter who got to play alongside one of our best ever players and grow up at the club at the same time as them, but Kevin – perhaps understandably – has nothing but fond memories and is full of admiration. “It was an absolute pleasure to play with him. His will to win and his cheekiness was what I remember about him! The same in games as in training and one of the best finishers I’ve seen… Also to be asked to come out of retirement to play for England in the last world cup tells you what a fantastic player he was. It will be sad to see him retire. A true United legend!!”
As well as going on to become possibly the midfielder most respected by his peers, Scholesy leaves a legacy of some of the most sensational goals ever scored in a United shirt. Kevin finds it as difficult as the rest of us to pick just one out, but has the most apt summary of our number 18. “He has scored that many that it’s hard to pick one! Every one will remember the one against Bradford but I think I’ll go for the volley against Villa! Technically perfect! Sums him up!”
Technically perfect – there could be no more fitting way to describe him.