Scholes set for 600 club - Manchester United Official Web Site
Sir Alex Ferguson spoke about mercurial midfielder Paul Scholes in Monday's press conference - here are the journalists' questions and the manager's answers.
Scholes is on 599 appearances for United. Are you surprised by his longevity?
It's fantastic, considering Scholesy’s probably had three or four longish term injuries during his career. He had the eye problem, he’s had two knee operations that kept him out for three months at a time, so he’s probably missed over a year of football in that time. He would probably be closer to 700 now had he not had those injuries.
Last summer Scholes said he would play for another two years and then call it a day. Do you see him sticking to that or carrying on?
Paul usually says what he means, there’s no question about that. He means what he says. He’s an amazing man.
He's said he likes playing football but hates being a footballer because of the attention that comes with it...
Absolutely, it's agony trying to get him to the press conferences for UEFA matches!
Is he a one-off in that respect?
No, quite a few players don’t enjoy the press. Some do it grudgingly and can cope with it. Others enjoy it, of course, and some are very professional, particularly European players - it’s like a duck to water for them, they are quite accessible that way. But I don’t think Scholesy's so different from everyone, I think there are quite a few who don’t enjoy that part of it. They see themselves as footballers and like to go home when they finish training.
Could you perhaps persuade him one day to be captain, just for one game?
He’s been captain. He didn’t like it and I think we lost actually.
Where will he stand in the list of all-time United legends when he does retire?
If you go back to the Bests, Edwards, Charltons and Laws, then you’re talking about quite a wide panorama of players. But in my time, he’d been in the top six or seven players, without question, for his contribution and his quality, and some of the fantastic goals he’s scored. Even on Sunday, the first touch he took was better than anyone else’s had been in the whole of the previous hour. He’s got that wonderful velvet touch on the ball, it goes stone dead when he gets it. In the midst of all the mayhem that can happen in football matches, it’s wonderful to see that.
Presumably there have been a number of enquiries from all the big clubs across Europe for Paul at some stage?
Funnily enough we’ve never had one enquiry for Paul Scholes. You know why? Because they all know he would never leave.
I think this is a great achievement for any player at any club. 600 games is phenomenal especially when you have had injuries and setbacks over the years, but to do it at a club with the stature of Utd, then this is something else.
I have been really dissapointed this season with the amount of criticism aimed at Paul. He's too old, he's too slow, we should sell him etc etc.. Where is the loyalty to players like this. I personally think he's still a great asset to have. We have a strong squad of young midfielders coming through and they are all definately benefitting from his experience (not to mention the likes of Giggsy and Neville too). Alright he's not the player he was 5/10 years ago but just to see him come on the pitch still brings a smile to my face. (Without mixing posts here, I know there's another debate about workrate vs composure, but over the years he has shown bags of both)
It's pretty fair to say that he's coming to the end of his (on the pitch) career, but there's still life in the old dog yet, even Fergie pointed this out about Sunday's game.
Yes we could replace him now, with someone younger, fitter, stronger, better tackler (lol, even I fit into that one!!) but why should we. There are far too many players jumping from club to club these days at the drop of a hat, but Paul has been a devout Red for his entire career with us. And if there's one thing we need its a bit of stability. All this discussion about sell this player, sell that one, buy this one, buy that one, doesn't it seem pretty obvious that the way we play when we have regular partnerships on the pitch, that we are much more solid. This season is a changing of the guards for me. Our old boys are retiring soon and our young lads are getting ready to take the helm, but for me, the longer the old boys are there, even if it is just in the backroom staff, then the better it is for everyone.
I read somewhere that he wanted to play his last season at Oldham Athletic. although I would never begrudge a player his wishes or dreams, I will be very sad to see him go.
Thankyou Paul for your years as a loyal servant, great player and model professional for our great club.
Long may it continue