By Mark Weasley
Xavi described him as one player that he would have liked to play alongside. Xavi is regarded as one of the best central midfielders that has ever played football, and he eulogising Scholes means that the former Manchester United player was even better than we all thought he was. He has been rated as one of the best players of his generation but Paul Scholes, due to his shy nature, was never truly appreciated for his talents.
Manchester United are currently in a transition phase, but for all the players that have worn the famous Red shirt, the club haven’t been able to replace the legendary English midfield maestro.
Since Scholes retired back in 2013, there has been no midfielder in his class that has played for the club. Extremely shy off the pitch but decisive on it, Scholes was the archetypal midfield player, capable of picking a pass out of nothing, and delivering assists as though they were out of fashion.
He had to come out of retirement in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season, which signaled the exit of Paul Pogba, who is now back at Old Trafford strutting his stuff week in, week out. Now a pundit, Scholes has now become a vocal presence, highlighting the fact that he was purposely shy as a footballer to avoid all distractions as a player.
Part of the famous class of ’92 alongside The Neville brothers, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and Nicky Butt, he rose through the ranks and in no time, had become a key member of the team, and finally earned recognition of the 1999 team that won the Treble, though he missed the Champions League final due to suspension.
Scholes lacked discipline on the pitch, often getting sent off and accumulating enough yellow cards to put Diego Costa to shame, yet fans could relate with his attitude as it was not lack of football intelligence that made him get so much cards, but the will of his personality and absolute hate for failure that helped lift his team.
Scholes finally retired in 2013 after winning yet another league title, and could only bow out the way he always wanted. It was quiet, that was overshadowed by Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, but that was the redhead for you. He wanted his football to do the talking and famously never gave any interview as a player, but football and Manchester United won’t ever forget his impact.