The start of another Premier League campaign beckons and Manchester United have bagged their first piece of silverware after a 3-1 victory over Chelsea captured their 18th Charity/Community Shield. As the likes of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov went about their business with a point or two to prove it was the veteran Paul Scholes who played the integral role in The Red Devils victory.
At 35 years of age the stocky ginger maestro looked as if he was ten years younger as he strutted up and down the pitch finding little pockets of space to work his magic. Everything that seemed to be penetrated by United going forward involved the model pro from Salford. His approach to the game is so inspiring to young children as he lives and breathes the sport he loves so dearly.
Scholesy in truth is like a beautiful vintage wine – getting better as the years roll on. His involvement in United’s success in the last fifteen years has been vast. As talk rambles on about the possibility of him hanging up his boots he goes about his business on the pitch so quietly but yet so effective. He will be approaching his 36th birthday in November, and in all honesty is there a more technically gifted English midfielder?
He is still setting the benchmark for fellow professionals alike. Fabio Capello acknowledges just how vital he is for his club as he feebly asked Franco Baldini to give him the call to ask his reconsideration over international retirement. Had Capello made the call himself then maybe Scholesy would have made one last hurrah on the international stage. However, what has been England’s envy has been United’s benefit.
Ever since he did place his last international cap in his trophy cabinet in 2004 he has been an absolute credit for his club. Sir Alex Ferguson recognizes that he cannot play in every single fixture due to his age but his involvement in big fixtures never goes unnoticed. The way he accompanies his colleagues in the middle of the park always looking for space, always on the move is a sight in itself.
His movement off the ball is just as impressive as his ageing legs show no sign of giving way just yet. His vision is lethal as time and again he produces a trademark cross field pass to the wing and then makes his way into the box seizing an opportunity. The man is just a marvelous talent.
The fact that he has played at the very top for one of the world’s elite for so long and continues to outshine his younger peers is phenomenal. It’s bewildering how he has never won the ‘PFA player of the Year.’ His honors list is as impressive as they come – 9 Premier League title, 2 European Cups, 3 FA Cups and a FIFA Club World Championship – and that isn’t even his total haul. As long as there’s still fire in his belly and a hunger for more success you can only see another title or two added to his stock.
The way he conducts himself is so inspirational to youngsters aspiring to reach the top of the game. A softly spoken Mancunian who plays at a 75,000 seater stadium as if it was his local park – just because he loves too. It isn’t about the fame or money for Scholesy, it is about medals and having a kick around with his mates. How refreshing is that attitude for a player of his caliber?
Tom Cleverley, an aspiring youngster in United’s ranks has spoken about his affection for his idol who acts as a role-model to those looking to make the grade at Carrington.
The 20 year old said:
“Playing for United and alongside someone like Scholesy is what every young lad dreams of. He’s a great mentor for me – I look to him every day in training and he’s definitely someone I can learn a lot from.”
He has registered his name in the glowing archives of Manchester United Football Club as one of the club’s all-time greats. English football is to expect a very sombre period when the baby-faced magician does decide to call it a day as his footballing prowess and professionalism has marveled the Premier League for so many years.
Whenever that day will be only Scholes will know himself, but for the benefit of United fans and neutral’s alike, hopefully it won’t be any time soon. You are an absolute credit Scholesy.