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Paul Scholes 1994-?

November 25, 2009

Written by: Adam Carpenter

Paul scholes had played over 600 games for United and scored close to 150 goals

Paul Scholes is quite possibly one of the best midfielders to ever grace the hallow turf of Old Trafford, and Sir Alex Ferguson will let you know of how much he thinks of the Salford born ginger ninja.

Paul Aaron Scholes was born on the 16th of November 1974 and has spent his whole professional career to date, under one team, one stadium and one manager. This never looks like changing as it is now at the closing stages of his career. He has always grown up as an Oldham Athletic fan and still has a huge soft spot for them today, but he joined United back when he was 14 as a trainee, he has been with this club ever since. Over the years he has gained a reputation as fans favourite by many red devils fans because of his energetic play, ability to find the net as a central midfielder and attacking midfielder, but most of all one of the best passers of a football of all time. Not only has he got a loving reputation and respect by the Old Trafford faithful for doing this, but it is how he has managed to deliver these products over so many years and be one of the most consistent players around.

His debut for Manchester United came way back in 1994 in the English league cup against Port Vale in a 2-1 win. It couldn’t have been a better debut for Scholes as he grabbed both of the goals, and many fans were talking up this young lad. This was the time of ‘Fergie’s fledglings’ and Scholes was one of them. In his younger days he was a remarkable player to score goals, whether it was a tap in, he was there in the right place at the right time, or whether he could smash one in from over 30 yards, he could do both more than adequately. The following season, 1995-1996 season, after Mark Hughes left to Chelsea, Scholes gained much more opportunities in the red jersey. He occupied a role just behind Andy Cole for this season as a striker, as Eric Cantona was out suspended. He did very well and got a remarkable scoring return of 14 goals in all competition, considering he was only 21 at the time. Over the next few seasons he continued to play an attacking midfield to central midfield role. He was in superb form in the treble winning season, scoring several key goals along the way to help the cause of the treble, but very unfortunately he was suspended for the champions’ league final against Bayern Munich at the nou camp. He has been a regular to hit the net around 15 times a season at least in many of the seasons. The Paul Scholes of nowadays is a totally different player to the Scholes of ten years ago.

The one downside of Paul’s game, (if any) was the mistiming of his tackling. On regular occasions he has had a dangerous tackle on him, leaving many of the United fans gasping their breath when he lunges down into a challenge. There have been occasions where he has received red cards and left his side down to 10 men in the past, he received a red card against Liverpool in March 2007 for lashing out on a dirty tackle on Xabi Alonso, and then getting up and swinging an arm at him. He was also dismissed against Tottenham earlier this season for a dirty lunge. There have been many occasions of him doing this, but I will assure you this has not taken any sort of light off his wonderful career.

Scholes’ international career with England was very successful and his debut was made in 1997 against South Africa at Old Trafford. In 1998 he earned his first call up to a major international tournament to go to the world cup in France. Scholes got one goal for England in the world cup against Tunisia; however he could do nothing to prevent England being knocked out in the last 16 against Argentina. He continued to shine for England scoring some more key important goals to help England get into tournament and progress in them. Scholes was out of favour when Eriksson took over at the helm, and was being played out of position. In 2004 Scholes decided to finish his career with England, as he wanted to concentrate on his club team and spend more time with his family, which is very understandable.

Scholes has generally been lucky enough to never really come across any serious injuries in his career. He was ruled out for much of the 2005-2006 campaign through blurred vision. It was rumoured it was a career threatening injury, but it only ruled him out for just over half a season. This was a very worrying time for many united fans as this would be a bitter blow if he was forced to retire through this. Fortunately over time he gained the vision back in his eye and fully recuperated over the following summer, and also played in the final game of the season, which he came through.

I must also talk through about some of the fantastic goals Scholes has scored during his time at united. He has always been one of the finest strikers of a football that I have ever seen and some of his goals are my all time favourites. My favourite ever goal was his strike at Villa Park in December 2006 just before Christmas where the ball bounced to him 30 yards from goal and he struck it on the volley falling from the sky (typical of scholes) and it cannoned of the crossbar into the back of the net. Gabor Kiraly in the Villa goal is one of the premier league’s best goalies at the time and he was nowhere near it. Another favourite strike of mine from Paul Scholes was his goal against Barcelona which we all remember well in the 2008 champions’ league semi final 2nd leg. This was not only a stunning strike but a very important goal in United’s season, ultimately sending us through to Moscow to play Chelsea. One more scholes goal of my favourites was his goal at Charlton Athletic quite a few years back, where he just leathered it and it was rising and rising and found the top corner.

Instead of making forward runs and getting into the box, where he scored in the right place at the right time, he now still possesses his passing ability, but is all round more conservative in his play which is understandable at a man of 35 years old. One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is his tackling but we all love a scholesy tackle every now and again.  He still has a couple of years left in his body and I for one certainly hope he does as do many normal fellow reds. One thing is when the likes of Neville, Giggs and Scholes do retire it will not be the same Manchester United, and we are all praying for their bodies and health to keep up. A fantastic servant to Manchester United over many a year and the day he does decide to call it a day as a player will be an emotional one for sure. Nevertheless he has provided us with much entertainment and class over the years that will never be forgotten among the Old Trafford folklore.

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