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Scholes has staying power

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PAUL SCHOLES wants to put his retirement on ice — by winning another Manchester United contract.

United's veteran midfielder is probably two years away from hanging up his boots.

But as Alex Ferguson's team prepare to defend their League and European titles, Scholes has another challenge in view.

He hopes to persuade Fergie he can contribute to the side beyond next summer.

Scholes, 33, confessed: “I'd think I've two years playing at the most. I have one year left at United and, hopefully, I'll get another. But I suppose it depends how you're feeling and playing.

“I see how my legs are at the start of the season and, at the moment, I feel OK.â€

Scholes wants to stay as Mr Anonymous when he does call it a day.

He added: “I'll miss the football but not the general life of a footballer. People are very invasive, always wanting to know what you plan to do.â€

One-club man Scholes also had a message for Real Madrid target Cristiano Ronaldo.

He declared: “If people fancy a move and a bit of money, good luck to them. But it's always a step down after here.â€

I hope he stays for a few seasons myself,a fantastic footballer.

Scholes is class, as a footballer and person.
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yeah keep scholes
he still have some thing to give
looks at his goals this season all vital all good goals :)
Scholesy is a true legend shows his desire to stay unlike Ronaldo
2 more years and then he will 'retire' in Oldham would be my guess. He always
said he would go back to his team and we need to respect his decision.
Id say he has 2 years at the very top left and will want to go out on a high.
He wont be one of these lads warming the bench every week.
i cant imagine scholesy playing in a 3rd division league team :(
A class act indeed.

Henry and Vieira always talked highly of Scholesy..

Many of his man U team mates have mentioned being astonished at some of the things he does in training..

To be recognised by your fellow professionals is the ultimate compliment.

A genius.
I hope he will leave on a high with more champion medals around his neck.
There's a very sad few moments around the corner for us United fans.

Ole's retired
Giggs, Neville, Scholes, Van Der Sar will all be following shortly too.

"THAT" golden generation is coming to an end and its a sad sight although its
great to look over that illustrious career and be able to see that they've all got
Champions League medals, all got Premier League winners medals along with
many other awards.

Scholsey is arguably United best midfielder of late and he is fitting to the status
IMO. What I would give to see Roy and Paul playing for United again in the center
of the field at their best with Ole ahead of them and the "true" United legends all
back there! It will be a very sad day when he decides to hang up his boots and I
hope he does get a season with Oldham. That's true sporting brilliance, play at
the highest level for years on end, and when its all catching up and its not so
easy to make a lung busting run into the box that you decide to trace your roots
and look to play for your hometown team! Wonderful story...

...So hopefully we'll get a few medals for Scholsey and the boys because he'll be a
massive loss when he goes....

Good luck Paul.
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Definitely! What a player - with so many years of experience behind him, his replacement would have a lot to live up to!
He's still a top 3 center midfielder in the Premiership (Essien and Gerrard round the top 3).
The problem is, as he ages, he won't be able to play in as many fixtures as we would like.

Does anyone remember his goal against Villa?... from the corner out to Scholes... IN THE BACK OF THE NET!
Great article on Scholesy :)

A part of me will be glad when it is all over, says shy superstar Scholes
By Ian Ladyman

The time is 3.30am in Moscow in May and Paul Scholes sits, alone, on a bus. A Champions League winner's medal hangs from his neck; proof that, at last, a life's work is complete.

Fifty yards away, Manchester United team-mates talk to the media. The match is won and it's time to revel in the glory. Scholes just wants to go home. 'Yeah, I was first on the bus,' reflected Scholes this week.

'But I always am. What's the point in hanging around? I was pleased with what we'd done but didn't want to spend all night talking about it. I was at the party later. But not for long. I had the kids there.

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'You maybe think about what you have done for a day or two but then that's it, it's finished. You look forward to the start of the new season.'

Fast forward two months and that new season is almost upon us. Scholes sits with seven journalists in the foyer of the Beverly Hills Hotel in the Umhangla Rocks district of Durban, South Africa.

He doesn't want to be there. A polite but reluctant interviewee. A reluctant superstar. Scholes adores football but hates the clutter that comes with it. He expects to retire in two years and when he does you can expect him to vanish.

'Part of me will be glad to finish,' said Scholes. 'I can't say I can't wait to finish but I'm looking forward to finishing and everything that goes with it. The only thing I'll definitely miss is the football. The general life of a footballer, I suppose, I won't miss at all.

'People are just very invasive, aren't they? They are always wanting to know what you have been doing and what you're going to do.

'I'm sure I'll go to watch United. My lad Aaron is absolutely mad on Man United. But that'll be as far as it goes. I'd think I have two years left at the most.

'At the moment I just think that would be about right. I feel OK right now and as long as I feel OK then I'll carry on. 'I'll just have to see when the time comes whether I want to carry on playing somewhere else at a lower level. I don't look that far ahead.'

Fresh from a gym session (voluntary) in the hotel, Scholes looks surprisingly muscular as he sits in an armchair.

His biceps are huge and his legs powerful. It is clear that a player known for possessing one of the most intelligent minds in English football has been doing his bit to ensure his survival in a Premier League which increasingly relies on pace, power and physical strength.

'There are a lot more players out there who are a lot quicker and more powerful than players were when I started,' reflected Scholes.

'But you just have to keep on top of it and hopefully your football talents come out in the end.

'You'd like to think that maybe your football intelligence comes into it and helps you to cope. After all, there's only so much running you can do. At the end of the day it's football and if you're clever enough to play then you'll find the right answers for it.'

Scholes' football brain and passing range remain as good as ever. He played one ball - over 50 yards on the volley - against Orlando Pirates on Wednesday that Padraig Harrington would have struggled to play with his pitching wedge.

But to understand Scholes' remarkable longevity at Old Trafford it helps to look at some statistics from last season.

The elder statesman - he is 33 now - Scholes nevertheless made more appearances (24) than his young central midfield colleagues Owen Hargreaves and the Brazilian Anderson last season.

Michael Carrick played just seven more times. Having evolved gradually in to a deeper lying player, Scholes' goal return has diminished. He scored only twice last season, although one - from 25 yards - won United's Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.

'It was just one goal, one moment in a game,' is Scholes' take on it. Towards the end of an off-season that has been dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo's attempts to engineer a transfer to Real Madrid, it would be fascinating to hear Scholes' private thoughts about a team-mate who is everything that he is not.

There is no chance of that, however. He probably hasn't even told his wife. But the very concept of seeking fame and fortune elsewhere is alien to Scholes, a player who doesn't even have an agent.

'If players fancy a move and a bit of money then good luck to them but if they're at such a place like this I don't think they realise how lucky they are to be playing here,' he said.

'It's always a step down after here. 'There are obviously big clubs in the world but while certain people think it might be a progression if they move somewhere else, I don't think it is.

'I am lucky in that I've had everything I need. I'm at Manchester United and from Manchester. What more do I need?'

The one thing he badly needed last season was a place in a Champions League Final team.

Having missed the 1999 success through suspension, last May's triumph meant more to Scholes than most.

'I got a medal in 1999 but I don't view myself as a double Champions League winner,' he added.

'You've got to play in the final, I suppose, for it to count. So it meant everything to win it this time. It was a great night.'

For Scholes, there may not be that many more great nights. The end of a remarkable career is creeping up.

Rewind a few days to last Saturday. United have just played a friendly at the Newlands Stadium in Cape Town. Again, Scholes sits on the team bus on his own.

Outside, cameras flash as South African news crews and fans peer through the tinted glass for a closer view. Scholes instinctively shuffles across his seat towards the aisle. He is out of sight.

Another great article on the Ginger Prince
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Here's another from the Guardian Online:

Paul Scholes reached the pinnacle of his career in Moscow two months ago with a winning appearance in the Champions League final, the crowning glory of an exemplary career for club and country. The 33-year-old midfielder has spent some of the time since May 21 considering how he will descend gracefully from that peak and yesterday revealed his conclusion when he set a two-year deadline for his exit from Manchester United.

"How long will I go on? I'd think two years at the most," he said. "I have one year left on my contract and hopefully I'll get another one but I suppose it all depends on how you're feeling and how you're playing. At the moment I just think two years would be about right."

Football's most reluctant star is living proof that celebrity can remain an optional extra. Scholes has operated below the radar for almost a decade and a half at Old Trafford and, while he may miss the top-level football when he leaves, he has never cared for the lifestyle trappings that go with it. The 10 days he will have spent away from his wife, Claire, and three young children, by the time he returns from United's four-game tour of South Africa and Nigeria are tough on such a family man.

"I can't say that I can't wait to finish but I am looking forward to finishing with everything that goes with it," he said. "I suppose people are just very invasive and are always wanting to know what you're going to do. The only thing I will definitely miss is the football, not the general life of a footballer."

Leaving a club is a wrench for any long-serving player and, while Scholes may see the writing on the wall at Old Trafford, he has not ruled out a move elsewhere when the time finally comes to leave. "It's difficult to say whether I want to bow out at the top [with United] or not. I'll just have to see, when the time comes, whether I want to carry on playing somewhere else at a lower level. But I don't look that far ahead.

"I've not done my coaching badges. I've never really done any coaching but I might give it a go and see if I like it. For now, though, I just want to concentrate on playing."

When Scholes does leave United it will be after serving his whole career as a professional player there and there has never been any temptation to swap Old Trafford for another stage. Cristiano Ronaldo appears to fancy another platform on which to treat the world to his talents but Scholes believes there is little to be gained - other than financially - by moving elsewhere.

"If other players fancy a move and a bit of money, then good luck to them but, if they're at a place like this, I don't think they realise how lucky they are to be playing here.

"It's always a step down after here. There are obviously big clubs in the world but, while certain people think it might be a progression to move somewhere else when you leave here, I don't think it is.

"I've had everything I need. I'm at Manchester United and I'm from Manchester, so what more do I need? I'm just one of the lucky ones who is at such a big club and has won a lot of trophies, but there are a lot of players throughout the league that won't win anything, yet will make big money out of it. Good luck to them."

When Scholes does finally walk away from United, he will emerge with two Champions League winners' medals to his name - one from Barcelona, the other from Moscow.

Scholes received the first while wearing his suit in the Nou Camp thanks to a suspension, however, so he admits that the second, won in the Russian capital in May, is the only one that matters.

"It meant everything," Scholes said. "It was a great night to win probably the biggest trophy in club football. Maybe we were a bit lucky towards the end but I was always hopeful we'd win it again and, luckily, we did it.

"I don't have my medals on show, they're just locked away somewhere. I got a medal in 1999 but I don't view myself as a double Champions League winner. You've got to play in the final for it to count. Hopefully we can do better this time than we did after 1999 when we had to wait another nine years."
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What a legend, absolutely phenomenal what he and Giggs have been able to here for so long...just a shame we were robbed of more magic from him with all the time he missed...can't wait to see the magic he provides this campaign
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