After an outstanding 19-year reign under Sir Alex Ferguson the ginger prince can finally hang up his boots and live life in royalty. As a member of Fergie’s famous “class of 92” Scholes has been an integral part of the club success over the past 20 years. The man from Stoke has made 717 appearances for Manchester United, winning 11 league titles, three FA Cups and two Champions Leagues. Scholes was and still is a quiet, humble and intrinsic character off the field, but on the field he’s a different man.
Paul Scholes may have wanted a quiet retirement but he’s not getting away without a tribute from me.
For any aspiring young footballer out there, if you want to know what the definition of a “complete midfielder” Paul Scholes is your man. In his prime Scholes had excellent timing of off-the-ball runs and would often score goals from loose ball situations in the box. Although leave the man at your pearl, outside of the box Scholes was just as competent of striking a “thronker” into the top corner. With that being said, the one skill Scholes will be most remembered for is his passing. Long, short, switching the play or the final pass, Scholes could do it all. His ability to perfectly place his passes into his team-mates feet was unbelievable. The attention to detail on each and every pass was second to none and no one could do it better, he’d hit the target almost every time. This just might have been the reasoning behind why they called him the “sat-nav”. I’ll leave you with Ronaldo to sum it up:
“When we were in training, I used to do a lot of tricks which hardly any players at the club could do. Once i was showing my skills to Scholes. After I finished it, Scholes took the ball and pointed to a tree which was about 50m from where we were standing. He said, I’m going to hit it in one shot. He kicked and hit the tree. He asked me to do the same; I kicked about 10 times, but still couldn’t hit it, with that Accuracy. He smiled and left.”
In his later years Scholes diversified into a new role, once again showing his array of passing abilities. Now finding himself as a deep-lying play maker the 37-year-old would control the tempo of games by floating around the half-way line and becoming more of a distributor of the ball. Amazingly Scholes still managed to rack up a 92.5% pass completion rate in this period.
Scholes was truly one of a kind and it’s unlikely we’ll ever see a player of his stature again. He had all the qualities you’d want in a midfielder, excellent distribution, great play-making skills, a long-range shot and a wonderful footballing brain. The label as “one of the greatest central-midfielders of his generation” is fully justifiable.
It’s not often that English players are praised so highly, but the 38-year-old was different in that respect. Quoted as one of the best midfielders of his generation Paul Scholes was a special player. Fans, players, managers, everyone adored how talented the man was. So as a tribute gathered together five quotes about the legend of Paul Scholes.
“My toughest opponent? Scholes of Manchester. He is the complete midfielder.”
“If he was playing with me, I would have scored so many more.”
“Out of everyone at Manchester United, I would pick out Scholes – he is the best midfielder of his generation. I would have loved to have played alongside him.”
“At La Masia his name was mentioned a lot. He’s a teacher.”
“There isn’t a player of his mould anywhere in the world.”
So this week we all had to endure that horrific few minutes of Rio Ferdinand chanting “Paul Scholes scores goals” at the victory parade. Despite the poor quality of the vocals, the lyrics couldn’t be anything more than the truth. Scholes was a master of shooting from outside the box. Given the space to shoot he wouldn’t hesitate to fire one towards goal. In his time at Manchester United he scored 155 goals and he’s some of his best.
So that about sums up my tribute to Scholes. I’d just like to say, Scholes you’ve been a wonderful servant to the club over the years and will go down as one of the true legends of the game. So yeah, you did turn out to be a half decent player after all.