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Scholes steers Man Utd towards title

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Phil McNulty | 07:55 UK time, Thursday, 23 April 2009

Sir Alex Ferguson and Paul Hart used the words like an automatic reflex action to the mere mention of his name - an example.

Paul Scholes had just marked his 600th Manchester United appearance with a moment of under-stated brilliance that could easily have come from so many of his previous 599.

Manchester United were just fraying a little around the edges until Scholes produced a pass of perfect vision and flawless weight for Michael Carrick to wrap up a win over Portsmouth that edges the Salford-born midfield man closer to his ninth Premier League title.

Scholes was surrounded by United team-mates who appreciated the moment before he saw out time and departing back into the anonymity he craves.

Eight-goal classics may be all the rage these days, but experience has informed Scholes that unremarkable 2-0 wins do the job just as well, indeed they do it better, when it comes to the business of collecting silverware.

Paul Scholes

Scholes is very much his own man, so much so that even a force as strong as Ferguson admits he is unlikely to stop him carrying out his stated desire to retire at the end of next season.

And if you want further proof, here is a classic Scholes tale from the 2002 World Cup when England were preparing to face Argentina in Sapporo.

Scholes was asked to name his all-time favourite footballers by a heaving mob of Argentine journalists - who sat back and awaited the formal announcement of the name of their own hero, Diego Armando Maradona.

"Frankie Bunn" came the reply from a deadpan Scholes, to general mystification from the South American contingent.

The name of Oldham Athletic's striker had obviously not crossed over from Boundary Park to Buenos Aires, so for the avoidance of doubt Scholes cleared up any confusion by adding: "Scored six goals in a League Cup tie against Scarborough once."

He also gave a namecheck to former Oldham striker and latter-day manager Andy Ritchie as another of his boyhood heroes. Not familiar figures in Argentina but the sort of honest professionals that would have been right up Scholes' street when he looked for role models.

But that is Scholes, as was his modest wave of acknowledgement to the thunderous ovation he was given when his landmark was announced before kick-off. No fuss. No fanfare. No interest in personal glory.

Ferguson had prefaced this game by revealing that while every top club wanted Scholes, he has never received a single bid for him - confirmation of the basic facts that they all know United would never sell him and they all know Scholes would never leave.

He then proceeded to give another example of the reconstituted game Ferguson still believes serves him so well, culminating in that killer pass that eased the nerves and put United three points clear of Liverpool with a game in hand.

Scholes operates deeper these days and his goalscoring peak has admittedly past, but he can still knit it all together for United when they are struggling - and they needed knitting together after a vibrant opening became tense and laboured.

Portsmouth boss Hart was happy to set the disappointment of defeat aside when asked about Scholes: "It's not difficult for me talk about an opposition player in this instance because I use him as an example to every player I deal with, young and old.

"I tell kids to look at how he doesn't take liberties with the ball. Everything looks pretty perfect to me."

United's display was far from perfect, but in a game and an atmosphere that was a world away from the tumult of Liverpool's 4-4 draw with Arsenal, the result was all.

Liverpool arguably look a more driven and energetic side than United at present, but time is of the essence now and the champions are grinding out results as the games run down while their arch-rivals paid dearly for their recklessness on Tuesday.

In cricketing terms, Liverpool appear to want to reach their target by hitting every ball for six while United are happy to get them in singles.

Wayne Rooney was the bustling, all-action antithesis to the gliding Scholes, while another veteran Ryan Giggs also seemed to be defying the ravages of time - apart from his finishing.

There was an interesting cameo involving Dimitar Berbatov, not exactly persona non grata with United's supporters but certainly in bad odour after appearing in serious danger of nodding off when he walked up to take his dreadful penalty in the FA Cup semi-final defeat against Everton at Wembley.

The pre-match reading of his name was met with a wave of indifference, as was a late warm-up. Carlos Tevez, in contrast and on the night when he appeared to suggest he will be leaving Old Trafford, was afforded a splendid ovation.

A lesson here for Berbatov. United's fans rightly expect sweat to go alongside skill, which is why players like Scholes, Giggs and Rooney are so revered.

Having observed United regularly recently, they are not at the top of their game but now hold what could be a decisive lead in the title race.

This says much about the golden sequence of results they strung together through the middle part of the season and the resilience they have shown since defeats against Liverpool and Fulham.

If, as some have suggested with a measure of justification, they are now running on empty, they appear to have enough fumes to carry them over the finishing line.

And as they move towards that target, the experience gathered over 600 games by Scholes will be an invaluable guide.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Scholes can still do it!!! He has been inconsistent this season with some of the worst performances I have seen, but still needs a place in the squad to produce the odd moment of magic. 1 more season Scholesy!!!!!

  • Comment number 2.

    A good win - 3 points at this stage is all important. I like the cricket analogy - if you go for broke every time, sooner or later you will slip up. It seems to be all or nothing with Liverpool.

    Scholes has been fantastic for United, although these days he does sometimes get caught in posession, especially in the bigger teams. I think the end of next season would be about right for him to retire.

    The summer will be an interesting time for United and possibly not in a good way. Tevez has never quite gelled at OT but he has great enegry and scores crucial goals. Not sure you can say the same for Berba who has the touch but has gone missing too often this season. If Ronaldo was to go to Madrid, the main source of goals would go and United would have some serious signing to do...

  • Comment number 3.

    Scholes will always be a United legend

  • Comment number 4.

    " A lesson here for Berbatov. United's fans rightly expect sweat to go alongside skill, which is why players like Scholes, Giggs and Rooney are so revered."

    i'm sorry that expectation is misguided. before he stepped into the club everyone knew it was his style. and if that statement was true. then ronaldo would have been chased away by an angry mob of united fans with pitchforks. the man has the talent, one penalty miss changes nothing

  • Comment number 5.

    Good blog Phil. I'm not sure about Alan Green's statement of 'running on empty' (which he referred to last night), although this is the same commentator that 3 days before claimed United were disrespecting the FA Cup by resting players...Everton demonstrated last night that United's performance on Sunday was better than many gave them credit for.

    Scholes does appear to get caught more than he ever did, although in my opinion he actually completes passes with greater efficiency than he ever did. Far from being a 'spent force' (to quote some minority Utd supporters) Giggs and Scholes are providing the calm and experience that is required in a run in.

    Still some tough games for Manchester United, although a win at home to Spurs on Saturday will certainly have the fat lady getting her voice ready!

    p.s. I've never questioned SAF, but keeping Berbatov at the expense of Tevez.....I'm not sure about that one!!

  • Comment number 6.

    Phil - I enjoy reading your articles, and they always stir up the debate, but I think we must have been watching different games last night. I try to watch my team and comment from an objective point of view.

    United, last night, did not 'grind out' a result - they were all over Portsmouth from start to finish and it was only the profligracy of a couple of the players (Giggs in particular), that prevented the game from turning into a rout.

    United's approach was much more professional and controlled when compared to the gung-ho, end-to-end, forget about defending attitudes of Liverpool and Arsenal in that 'Classic' on Tuesday night.

    To me, United looked like they were far from 'running on empty' and were getting back to their old ways of looking 'hard to beat' - Christ, they've only recently lost 2 games back-to-back, since when they haven't lost a game, but to read some of your comments you'd think that they were on a downward spiral.

  • Comment number 7.

    I was always under the impression that Scholes would have his last ever season playing for Oldham.

    Anyone still think this is going to happen?

  • Comment number 8.

    We fans of Manchester United have been so, so lucky to witness two such outstanding careers first-hand; Giggs and Scholes have served the club like the professionals they are (and rather gifted ones at that).

    We should also give honourable mention to other long-standing players such as Gary Neville and Phil when he was with us (Butt & Beckham too). That golden generation has won us so much in terms of silverware and respect and for that, I thank them all - but Fergie most of all, for unearthing them (with his scouts & coaches) and guiding them ever onwards.

    I look at the latest generation of youngsters and see some talent there, certainly. Evans will surely replace Rio as our defensive mainstay one day; Macheda has already shown he can do it on the big stage; Welbeck, though raw, could be a superb no.9 of the future if played in that position; the da Silva twins look sublime; Possebon a calming influence in midfield and Anderson, well, how good can he be?

    All, though, must look to Scholes, Giggs and Neville as the 'examples' you mention, Phil and rightly so. In these days of teams with multiple foreigners, it's good to see youth is still being given its head. For that, the likes of Fergie, Wenger, O'Neill and Southgate (among others) must be thanked.

    God bless this most beautiful of games!

  • Comment number 9.

    Paul Scholes is a true professional and an ambassador to the sport. Well done scholesy keep it going!!!

  • Comment number 10.

    I am by no means taking anything away from Paul scholes (and i am a liverpool fan) i think that he is a player of true quality and england have severly missed his influences over the last few years. However united have just about gained another premier league title with the likes of scholes, giggs and van der sa, gary nevill ect all playing on their last few legs. Pundits are all to quick to judge liverpools second string players (and believe me a few of them are shocking i agree) but united will be in dire straights once they all go. the like of anderson and nani just dont cut it! what are your thoughts.

  • Comment number 11.

    Great Blog Phil, Scholes is a legend an we will drag ourselves over the finish line to win the league again, i garantee Liverpool dont get as close as they did this season in the next one, they just had 1 good season bless em!!

  • Comment number 12.

    A model player, yes. But I rememeber that he cost us the game at Fulham. That rather preys on my mind. But I would give him one or even two more years ahead of Gary Neville, who should become a pensioner.

  • Comment number 13.

    i would rather we gave berbatov a free transfer (a bit dramatic maybe) rather than letting tevez go. tevez would run thro a brick wall for the cause and i think he has the all round game to be a big part of the united fold for the next ten years.

    PLEASE FERGIE SIGN TEVEZ ON A PERMANENT DEAL!!!!!

  • Comment number 14.

    #10 - I take your point, although most teams rely on a blend of youth and experience. United have a great range of players and altough we'll miss Giggs and Scholes, I'm not sure we'll be in dire straits. The likes of Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Carrick, Rooney and Ronaldo have a lot of experience now (especially of winning titles which is crucial) and they can provide that continuity when the old boys do call it a day. I also think a lot of the young players have the potential to be great for United, Anderson has had a mixed season but was excellent last night. I do have concerns around Nani though and replacing Van der Sar will be tough.

    When it comes down to it, United have always replaced their great players, one of Fergie's greatest strengths is that he always seems to have a long term plan. I will be more worried about him going than any of the players to be honest...

  • Comment number 15.

    It's always a privilage to be at OT and watch sholsey & giggsy. They are great professionals and the sort of players you need in a team. The great thing is we have other young players coming through in their unfussy and yet class mould. The likes of Gibson, Wellbeck, and Ando are excelent and these past few seasons will have learnt so much from the old masters.
    I think the article sums p the title race perfectly..... UTD know they have a job to do and they have all components working again - 3 successive clean shets in all comps Ronaldo firing again and Rooney a man piosessed!

  • Comment number 16.

    no.10 Istandbul2005_4eva

    Good post, balanced opinion. I thought you were very good v Arsenal, when you went 2-1 I thought we would have been under real pressure as I always had you down for dropping pts. But what was your captain doing as a pundit on Sky? Should he not have been in the dressing room calming nerves, gee'ing up whatever? I would have been shocked and upset to have seen a United captain in the pundit chair in one of our home games?

    As for your post, see post no.8. Evans is showing he was what it takes, as does Anderson, and I was impressed with Gibson on Sunday. Let us not forget these players have silverware under their belt in the Carling Cup.

    Rather than 'dire straights', I think you'll find there is a quiet confidence that we have some top quality players coming through, plus we'll always be making the odd signing or 2 (although can't see us matching Rafa's spending!!!).

  • Comment number 17.

    Hi Phil,

    Interesting blog. Do you agree that its a shame Scholes hung up his England boots so early. I sometimes wonder what could of England achieved if he had not retired so early.

  • Comment number 18.

    Nit picking but the quote about Frankie Bunn isn't backed up by the reference for it where he says that Andy Ritchie not Bunn was his all time favourite.
    Anyone who appreciates the simplicity of the game warms to Scholesy. He does the simple things brilliantly He shifts his weight from side to side quickly and simply which gives him time to pick the pass he needs.
    I hate to exacerbate an old cliche but imagine if he could tackle....

  • Comment number 19.

    "A lesson here for Berbatov. United's fans rightly expect sweat to go alongside skill, which is why players like Scholes, Giggs and Rooney are so revered."

    Spot-On

    Messrs Forlan et al all had admiration from the United fans as during there lean periods they could at least seen to be 'giving it their all'

    I can draw comparison with RVN at the twilight of his Old Trafford reign, we loved him when he was banging in the goals, but he was frustrating to watch when things didn't go his way. Right now Berbe isn't getting the goals to warrant his on pitch demeanor.

  • Comment number 20.

    Paul Scholes is unique. A very rare gem. He's got immense skill and exceptional vision. If every team has a Paul Scholes matches will end in a draw and the league a tie.

  • Comment number 21.


    People claim Scholes or Giggs are greats because they gave one assist or scored one goal (along with plenty of misplaced passes) in every 10 or 20 matches. That's after being rested for the remaining half of the season.

    These people have to understand that in modern football world class midfielders, the likes of Iniesta, Xavi, Ribery, Diego et al., can give the same amount of passes, make the same runs, the same steals and have the same effect on the play in one game alone. Not to mention their pace, distance covered or consistency of performance from one game to another.

    In half of their games this season, Scholes and Giggs have been anonymous to say the least.

    If they played in a different country, they would be automatically dubbed by the English pundits end public as 'past it', not just 'ageing' but 'help the aged', 5 years or so ago. Just remember how you/they were talking about Milan's brilliant midfield when they faced English sides - based on the factor of age and fitness alone. Well these players were then much younger than Scholes and Giggs are now.

    The truth is that none of these two will not be remembered as one of football's true greats, apart from inside this country with its low standards and media hype, where even guys like Cantona or Beckham are considered absolute legends.

    When Scholes came on against Everton he kicked somebody straight away and then was trying not to get sent off. In the CL final he was the worst player on the pitch. Giggs didn't even start that game.



  • Comment number 22.

    I'd also like to point out the Scholes is one of, if not the ONLY player in the prem NOT to have an agent! That says it all about him as a person really.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think there were more flashes of brilliance in that game, than in any other since away in Milan. Perhaps United are comming back up. But to compare the Paul Scholes this season with that of old is just wrong. I think he is actually finished, yes he has some brilliance, you don't loose talent. But speed is gone, his tackling is worse than ever and he has had a lot of dodgy games and given the ball away a lot this season. If you compare him to Giggs, well, you can't Giggs on last nights display still has it and just couldn't finish. On another night he would have had a hatrick. Scoles was annonymous for large parts if not practically all the second half. Thank you and good night Mr Scoles, Brilliant. NEXT!

  • Comment number 24.

    Very good performance as ManUtd top the table again. But, I am not so delighted with the ways their players have performed so far. As for the games against Aston Villa and Liverpool, they seemed to give away possession too easily and defence attributed to the defeat agaist liverpool. Carlos Tevez was very good at falling on the ground losing ball posession and I don't understand how Ronaldo performs. He always shows frustation against his opponents, he doest not display hardworking attitude and perserverence. Their midfield players lack depth. Sir Alex should bring in some goog players if he is to compete for big honor next season and should allow some to leave: Carlos Tevez, Darrent Fletcher, John O'shea. I don't understand in Sir Alex mind how John O'shea is good and Flether also. He should sign one or two tough midfielders and good passers of ball. Michael Essien, Javier Masherano are the ideal men for this role although the deal for Javier Masherano is impossible.

    News of the world quots sir Alex as saying he is prepared to big 70 million pounds for AC Milan's Kaka. I thinks he is the ideal replacement for Ronaldo along with Frank Ribery. Ronaldo has not performed well this season and Sir Alex should allow him to leave and find his replacement: Antonio Valencia, Frank Ribery or Kaka?

    Another player to be shown the exit door is Carlos Tevez and Sir Alex can sign Lyon's Karim Benzema or Valencia's David Villa as his replacement. They are better players and each club has their own problems. This is the ideal chance to bring one of them to OT.

    Good midfield and strong strike force will bring more success to OT.

  • Comment number 25.

    There is a Scholes T shirt with the following printed on it, which beautifully puts Scholesy into context and prooves why he is so well liked both at United and within football:

    Get up
    Go to work
    Play the game
    Get showered
    Go home

    Top bloke and a top player that a lot of other so called "stars" should try to emulate (apart from some of his tackles of course!).

  • Comment number 26.

    To whatbill & Kingeric 1997----

    gerrard in the pundits lounge annoyed myself also and i have had made comments myself about that and about how he should have been in the dressing room. but i believe we all make mistakes, (including this season)
    And i too thought that we would beat arsenal. I conceded the title after the boro game and then we were let back into it. and i have conceeded the title again after the arsenal game, i can only hope that you let us back in again.

    However i do stand against my previous post of your "other" palyers not being able to cope with the run in of the premier league. You say that the carling cup has given them expereince however most teams put out weakened teams during that competition (unless your spurs) and i have reservations about them in the premier league. I do think that the next few years are very crucial for UTD as some key palyers will be retiring- including fergie!

  • Comment number 27.

    NikosBg the biggest WUM is back.................... everybody - please ignore him and he may go away.

  • Comment number 28.

    To See_You_Next_Tuesday..it is true he mentioned Andy Ritchie as the linked article says, but he also gave good old Frankie Bunn a namecheck.

    I was at the press conference in Japan, but to ensure I hadn't imagined the whole thing I checked it again today with a colleague from the Press Association who was also there.

    He recalled the reference to Frankie - and the additional information about the League Cup tie. Very funny and very Scholes, although I'm not sure it made too many headlines back in Argentina.

    Here's a question for United fans. Are they as ruthless this season as they have been in the past? They waste too many opportunities, and that led to the tension that built up before the second goal last night.

    Let me know your thoughts.

  • Comment number 29.

    Paul Scholes - my best player over the years. The one that receive my two hands clap together.
    He never mess with the ball like many others, he passed the moment he collected the ball. Unlike many that wants to go through 5 players, he played as part of the TEAM.
    Many must remembered those shots that destroyed the net.
    CONGRATULATIONSssssssssssssssss Chief Paul

  • Comment number 30.

    Scholes and Giggs have to be lauded as two of the finest players football has ever seen.

    Good blog

  • Comment number 31.

    12. Malicious Whistle - a bit of a daft comment mate... Scholes and Neville have been great servants for years - i can only assume when you say "we" you are a part time Man Utd fan probably based atleast 50, maybe 100, maybe even 200 miles from Manchester... and don't get to many games... I have never heard any knowledgable Man Utd fan say anything similar.

    18. See You next tuesday - Scholes can tackle ... please don't believe the hype that surrounds the "he can't tackle" argument... Scholes has got away with some horrific tackles in his career because of this myth... yet when you read read Roy Keanes autobiography he says that he loved playing with Scholes because he was "nasty"... he means to foul people.... and in my eyes, like Roy Keane, this makes him even more appealing to me!

  • Comment number 32.

    #28

    Not last night. From the start there seemed to be a more carefull approach adopted, building from the back and certainly not charging forward. Unfortunately, we never seemed to get out of 2nd gear and although rarely threatened by Crouch (who I thought had an excellent game on his own up front)meant that Phelan had to step back from the technical area when SAF came down to "calmly talk" to one or two players. Interestingly, not many seemed to want to go down the right flank when he was still there......2nd goal game was always going to be over for Pompey.

  • Comment number 33.

    The sad thing about this campaign is that Man Utd have not really played well this season (by their standards anyway) yet they lead the league easily. As a Liverpool fan this gets me down & makes me think of a big opportunity lost.

  • Comment number 34.

    the most interesting thing about the coverage of recent events involving Liverpool and United is the apparent surprise

    United had a 7pt lead over Liverpool when they turned up at Old Trafford. United also lost at Fulham while Liverpool followed them there by scraping a win - both sides could've filled their boots at the Cottage. the game at Fulham was not indicative of United overall and it was pathetic to try and portray it as such off the back of the 4-1 win at OT for Liverpool - which was basically no more than a freak result.

    Liverpool have been attacking on the wave of bravado their win over Real and United afforded them. but their bravado has proved itself to be flawed. they have made no discernable progress in the league and collapsed out of the European Cup.

    Benitez is not an expert on attacking football. tactically he has been shown up twice by Chelsea (once embarrassingly so) and again by Arsenal. Liverpool should've been good enough to win on Tuesday after nearly a week with their feet up, the same scenario they enjoyed against Real. but instead they were lucky not to lose more than 4 goals.

    which brings me to Scholes. United have often been said to look vulnerable with Scholes in the heart of the midfield lately, especially when Giggs also starts. but last night he was a shining example of what is really required to be a top side with an attacking outlook for exciting football, namely patience, calmness, skill and vision.

    Liverpool are famous for kick and rush. they haven't played kick and rush properly probably since Dalglish left and they haven't won the league either. what they have done though it seems to me is forgotten why they stopped playing kick and rush in the first place. in 1992 the game introduced the back pass rule. it really is no coincidence that Liverpool haven't won the league since.

    that said, the other night Scholes volleyed a magnificent backpass on the half-turn from the centre circle. Van Der Sar trapped it on his thigh as if it was standard. Scholes took United past Barcelona with a stunning goal last season as Messi and Xavi watched on. I hope these three world class players share the pitch in Rome on May 27th.

  • Comment number 35.

    #10 The players you mentioned that don't cut it are just kids. I expect anderson to be the perfect player in the middle of the park for us in the coming seasons. Nani still has to prove himself but on occasions he's played some lovely football. Ronaldo is only 23!

    I also rate Gibson highly. People forget that these fringe players at United are still playing in our youth side, and SAF knows how to develop and bring these players through. There is a young team there that will develop together with the help of Giggs, Neville, Scholes. Let's just hope that Scholes doesn't teach them to tackle.

  • Comment number 36.

    NikosBg

    So your still here dissing English football.....why do you bother to watch it......

    Zinedine Zidane, Carlo Anchelotti and many others have been quoted admirers of Paul Scholes, Anchelotti said that he would be his number one choice to build a team around so that says it all about how he is viewed by people within football and yet you think he is passed-it!!

    Im sure that your opinion of him is going to cause him no sleepless nights at all.

    Face it, your opionions are biased and ridiculous......think before you post!

  • Comment number 37.

    To NikosBG

    Zinedine Zidane called Paul Scholes the best midfielder of his generation. Do you need anymore confirmation of Scholes' greatness ?

  • Comment number 38.

    I just dont understand certain so called united fans on these blogs any fan of united who feels darren fletcher isnt up to it is very wrong. he has been one of our more consitent performers this season and has even scored a few crucial goals i.e chelsea! He is largerly improved season after season and it shows as sir alex looks to him in crucial games.

    another example is john o shea without utility players like him any team would struggle anyone who has played football at a decent level with know how hard it is to play different positions each week. his performances wheather RB LB or CB haved been crucial this season everyclub needs players like these.

    As for tevez im 50 50 with, yes without question he works tremendously hard for the team and it muust be difficult when you donty get a regular run in the team however its not coming off for him atm and e is giving the ball away far to much. Berbatov shows his class and without doubt is truly gifted however agen like tevez if there not getting the goals he will get stick. i feel they will be wiothout one next season most likely tevez and i feel they need a goal scorer even someone like defoe.

  • Comment number 39.

    "Are they as ruthless this season as they have been in the past?"

    in a word - no

    last year it wouldve been 6-0 last night - well at least 3-0 by half time

    the prior games to pool and fulham you could see what was goig to happen - utd were being wasteful & losing possesion too easily - however the last couple of games i can see utd getting back to business - just at the right time

  • Comment number 40.

    RE:nikosbg
    What a load of nonsense you talk! It must surely be done for effect, as I cannot believe you could be that ignorant. Even our biggest rivals Liverpool praise Scholes and Giggs for their contribution to the game, and the honours they have achieved; but there again you probably reckon they are lightweights in Europe.


    You quote:

    "The truth is that none of these two will not be remembered as one of football's true greats, apart from inside this country with its low standards and media hype"

    "Low standards" ! How dare you!. Both last years champion's league finalists were English. Three out of the four semi finalists this year are English, with there being a good chance of an all English final again.

    All you do is criticise anything English, without even having the decency to tell us where you come from or who you support.

    Come on, be a man, tell us who you support, and where you come from; but you won't will you?

  • Comment number 41.

    I don't agree with Alan Green's comment about running on empty either. I was at the game last night and some of the play was superb. The only (admittedly big) problem was the wastefulness in front of goal. However, at least they were creating chances. I stil cannot work out how professional footballers can talk about exhaustion - most of these players did not have a game at the weekend and even if they did, ninety minutes on Wednesday and another ninety on Saturday or Sunday should not be too much for a professiona athlete. How do tennis players do it?

  • Comment number 42.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 43.

    Nikos

    Man U Vs Barcelona

    1-0 Paul Scholes

    Barca greats - no goals in 180 minutes. Barely a sniff of a chance

  • Comment number 44.

    Sadly, the 'title race' to which it is constantly referred was over in August of last year. The Champions were going to be Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, as they all enter the Champions League. How very sad to see that a competition that was once worth winning is now merely a qualifying competition for the 'big money event'. I have no problem with that per se, but let's not call the team that ends up on top of the league 'Champions'. We have 4 in this country and it is about time that this is recognised.
    Let's get back to Champions being Champions and stop diluting the achievements.
    There we are - rant over - but had to be said

  • Comment number 45.

    Istanbul2005_4eva

    Thoughts indeed! Write legible English first! With all the young talents available at United (see post 8), I don't know what sort of thoughts go on in your head!

  • Comment number 46.

    Nikos Scholes and Giggs are obviously past their best but to say that they have been past it for five years is wrong. Scholes and Giggs were both in the top 4 performers in the 06/07 season with Scholes being second only to Ronaldo. Also Scholes was a great goalscoring midfielder with his best total being 20 and he regularly got over 10 during his prime years. He has obviously changed his game now but has had some impressive performances this season although I will admit that he has played poorly at times.

    As for Iniesta and Xavi you are making an unfair comparison. These players are world class, but are younger than Scholes and still in their prime. Scholes will be remembered as a great and after Zidane, who was different class, as the best midfielder of his generation.

    Istabnul the future is bright for United in my opinion. There are young players coming through to replace all the players you have mentioned. Anderson is a quality player as he has shown since coming back from injury and had the potential to be a United legend. I do agree about Nani but United have signed Tosic who will hopefully become a good player.

  • Comment number 47.

    36 - Nikos has a point and you have gloriously missed it. The players he mentions have played in teams that have won major awards - World Cups, Euro Championships etc. As good a player as Scholes and Giggs maybe, he is right, in countries that win things, they would now be passed over for younger talents. However, as England are unlikely to win anything soon, unless they brought back the Home Chamionships (and there is no guarantee they would win that!), we persist in sticking with older players.
    Nikos is right, you might not like it, but he's right.

  • Comment number 48.

    The issue of Tevez's future is clearly a contentious one. Every time I go to Old Trafford it is clear how much he is appreciated - the familiar chant of "Argentina" does the rounds the moment he starts to warm up if he is on the bench. He is a very popular figure and never leaves an ounce of effort out on the pitch.

    But if the rumoured fee is £32m, does he represent good value for money? Could United get better with the money they would have to spend to keep Tevez?

    A criticism I hear about him from some United fans is that while he is industrious and undoubtedly gifted, he lacks consistent end product.

    Fair? Let me know.

    My own opinion? If the fee is £32m, then I would not pay that for Carlos Tevez. I think if United were spending £32m, then a club of their stature might be able to buy an improvement, maybe someone who could provide a greater contrast to Wayne Rooney.

    Just my opinion thrown out there. Tell me yours.

  • Comment number 49.

    For newish readers of these blogs, please ignore the comments of NikosBG. Look at this guys message history and you'll see what sort of agenda he has. He is totally anti-English(even spreading to Formula One!). What he needs to understand is that if he toned down the anti-english bile people might take his comments abit more seriously.

    To claim that Scholes isn't much good just shows how far this guys bias will go. Scholes is the best English player I've seen in my 25 years (and that coming from a Leeds fan!)

  • Comment number 50.

    The fee for Tevez maybe 7-12Million too much. But he is quality, the problem is though, its difficult to keep yourself up and consistent, when you know that even if you play a stunning game you could be dropped for the next. It hurts, and can be hard to recover psychologically.

  • Comment number 51.

    An excellent piece and yes Scholes has been the master of Utds midfield for years. Surprising now however that not one person has mentioned a successor to him. The one that stands out is Darren Fletcher...the next three or fours years will see him develop into one of the worlds best midfielders, as was Scholes.

  • Comment number 52.

    #21

    Scholes and Giggs aren't called legends or greats on the back of this season where they have made fewer appearances, and looked a little more vunerable in big games.

    It's on the back of year after year of dedication to the games, keeping their head down and putting in the hard graft whilst many other players come and go around them.

    Two players who between them are one shy of 1,400 appearances for the same club - all in the top flight and in arguably the best game in the world. There can be no doubting they are legends/greats.

    Don't understand your point by saying they won't be recognised "apart from inside this country" - even if the rest of the world don't recognise them for the contribution to the beautiful game (which I doubt!) - there are very few players who get world wide recognition on the basis you are using. Zidane was not a one club man, and made less than 700 appearances in his career for 4 clubs, whilst winning less than Scholes or Giggs.

    You need to get a clue!

  • Comment number 53.


    34. At 12:40pm on 23 Apr 2009, Rotterdam wrote:

    "I hope these three world class players share the pitch in Rome on May 27th"


    I certainly hope so, it'll be good fun as against Barca Scholesey likes to dance the Zorba

    http://xs435.xs.to/xs435/09033/messischoles2969.jpg

    http://xs435.xs.to/xs435/09032/messischoles245.jpg



  • Comment number 54.

    NikosBG entirely misses the point, as usual.

    What makes Scholes so incredible is that he's as English as they come but plays like a continental. Say what you like about Gerrard and Lampard - they are good players - but they play like Englishmen: passion, power, heart, etc. Scholes plays like a Spaniard. His first touch is amazing: however tightly he's marked it almost always leads him out of trouble. He can play is short, he can play it long. And he just sees angles that nobody else can. There may be continental plays like Xavi Hernandez or Iniesta who can do this, but who in England? And it's not only Zidane who admires him. When Cesc Fabregas - himself a technician who makes our lot look like a bunch of cloggers - was asked which of all Premiership player he'd most like to emulate, his answer was immediate: Paul Scholes.

  • Comment number 55.

    RE: 48. At 1:13pm on 23 Apr 2009, Phil McNulty - BBC Sport

    Phil, I agree that for that sort of money then perhaps United would be better off going for a more out and out goalscorer to compliment Wayne Rooney's deeper lying role.

    Carlos Tevez is extremely industrious and wears his heart on his sleeve but I would prefer to see that sort of money spent on a true out and out goalscorer who is likely to contribute 20+ goals a season consistantly.

    Torres would have been the perfect aquisition but as that is now out of the question then perhaps his Spanish teammate David Villa?

  • Comment number 56.

    Class is permanent.

  • Comment number 57.

    as an arsenal fan, Wenger could do a lot worse than sell lazybyor and buy tevez. like macca says, all supporters, let alone Utd ones, love sweat allied to skill. By-byor only provides the latter.

  • Comment number 58.

    I agree 32 million is far to much for carlos tevez i cant see him scoring you 30 goals season not even 20 yes he works so hard but we have that in rooney who is worth far more than tevez in my opinion. i persoanly class rooney the best player in the world along with gerrard. i feel the money could be far better spent on a player who will get us goals in the premiership like when we had saha e wasnt allways first choice but when e played you always felt e might score you couple goals, e wasnt world claas but in premiership games u dont always need that. the likes of defoe who give a chance to they will finnish and e would be half the price hopefully macheda or wellbeck will fulfill potential and b enatural goal scorers in few seasons
    .

  • Comment number 59.

    3. At 11:01am on 23 Apr 2009, redevil-wooh7 wrote:
    Scholes will always be a United legend

    ===========================================

    he's not just a united legend, but a legend to the league, to his country and to the world of football.

    a true legend!!!

    But would he be as recognized in the footballin world for his ability if he never have played for man u???

  • Comment number 60.

    Post 31: boomshakalak:

    It doesn't change the fact that his handball preys on my mind. What has it got to do with where I live? With the increase in season tickets, you can be certain that those games will become even fewer. It doesn't reduce my love for the Club, does it?

  • Comment number 61.

    Nikos - long time no hear. Glad to see you escaped the padded cell but sorry the medication is still not working.

    Back to reality.

    I have to agree with the Liverpool fan #33. I feel that if we do win the league (and I can't see anything else after this week) it will be by default as this season has been more about the failings of Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal rather than the briliance of Utd.

    As for Scholes - a true legend not just at United but also in football as a whole. It has been a pleasure and a privelage to watch him for so many years at OT.

  • Comment number 62.

    Comments suggesting Scholes is merely 'tidy' or 'lazy' are insulting in my view. People have short memories.

    I've said before that younger fans should watch old footage of Giggs and Scholes to see how good they actually were.

    Giggs in his youth makes Cristiano look pedestrian and unimaginative, and Scholes was as good as Dalglish and Baggio.

    I remember a United Champions league tie against Bayern Munich in maybe '96 where Scholes scored a skilful and brave goal, going in where it hurts against the onrushing keeper after some clever skill to beat the last man. Commentator Clive Tyldesley reminded viewers that it was Scholes third game in a row where he had scored a vital goal and that the weekend before he had scored in a United victory over Liverpool. Big Ron just said "Yeah, but how will the kid do in the big games Clive".

    Class, played by Erikson on the left, what a joke. Should have had a longer England career.

    I am an Oldham fan and I really hope that he does play a season or two for us when he leaves United. Really unassuming guy who was undoubtedly for a couple of years the best player in Europe. If he had been United's penalty taker and got more goals, or if he had played the media game he would have been voted World Footballer of the Year on a couple of occasions.

    Frankie Bunn - dodgy knees, six goals, get in.

  • Comment number 63.

    I'm a massive admirer of Tevez. He's come from nothing - and when you're talking about a Buenos Aires villa that really means NOTHING - through talent and unbelievable hard work. But there's no way he's worth 32m quid.

    What United need is either a big old-fashioned centre forward or a whippet who plays off the shoulder of the last man. In Rooney, Tevez and Berbatov they have three excellent players but all of them come deep to look for the ball. Man U need more variety up front. Torres would be first choice for me, not that he would ever sign. Maybe Eto or, as a gamble, Walcott or Agbonlahor?

  • Comment number 64.

    scholes is good - in the same way Xavi, Deco are good. good all-round midfielder player - like Lampard but with better close control. Scholes beats all other english players bar Gascoigne and Rooney when it comes to close control and twisting and turning out of tight situations.
    He isn't a dynamic midfield player in the way Gerrard is. For my money the best players have the skill of the Scholes, plus the drive of Gerrard. Very few make that list, i can only think of Maradona and Gascoigne in my lifetime. I remember someone saying once about Gazza that he had the power of a German and the skill of a Brazilian. That summed it up pretty well!

  • Comment number 65.

    I had heard that Scholes planned on playing his final season at Oldham as well, and I truly hope this is the case. As someone who has a deep lying hate of Manchester United and anything to do with them I still manage to find a lot of time for Paul Scholes and his whole approach to the game. I'm certainly keeping my fingers crossed that he spends one final season with us at the Latics.

  • Comment number 66.

    But if the rumoured fee is ?32m, does he represent good value for money? Could United get better with the money they would have to spend to keep Tevez?

    A criticism I hear about him from some United fans is that while he is industrious and undoubtedly gifted, he lacks consistent end product.

    Fair? Let me know.

    -----------------------------------------------

    Tevez is a great player, one of my favourites. He's an intelligent footballer and technically excellent.

    But is he worth £32m? No.

    For that kind of money, Ferguson could be making a bids for the likes of Messi or Ben Arfa.

    Tevez would be a great long term signing for United, but not at £32. Halve that and that would be a more realistic price for him.

  • Comment number 67.

    enanjay

    2 points: The only person diluting the acheivement of winning the Premiership is you by stating that the ones who finish first shouldnt be called the Champions; secondly....what on Earth has Ribery won....precisely nothing at International level...the same as Scholes and Giggs yet if you compare their Club honours Scholes and Giggs beat all the players that NikosBG seems to hold in such high regard.....the pair of you sound like Anglophiles!!

  • Comment number 68.

    Last year I'd have said I wanted United to spend the £30m-odd on Tevez. His end product isn't consistent, but then neither is his time on the pitch. Like Rooney though, his contribution is invariably solid even if he's misfiring because he helps ensure the opposition have to work harder just to get the ball to the halfway line.

    But now, with Berbatov (who I like but currently is inconsistent and cost a fortune), I don't think United should spend that much on Tevez. Part of me thinks Welbeck and Macheda could share the back-up forward role but the thing we'd miss at the moment if/when Tevez leads is he has a knack for scoring important goals.

    If Tevez goes what forwards would you be looking at from a United point of view, Phil? I personally think they need somebody a little more direct. We've got Rooney, Tevez (for how long?), Berbatov and Ronaldo who'll get a goal but spend most of their time sitting deeper, I think Ferguson needs to have a look at somebody who's "just" a striker.

  • Comment number 69.

    any chance of your moderators speeding up a bit - it sort of kills the idea of an interactive forum when it takes 2 hours for our threads to pass the strict moderation test - good old BBC embracing technology :-)

  • Comment number 70.

    #21 - NikosBg - probably the most uninformed comment i have ever read about football. Both Scholes and Giggs are held in high regard amongst your 'european stars'. Zidane, Del Piero, Ancelloti, Lippi, Capello, Maldini et al have all expressed their respect for these two players. They'd be more likely to play for longer in other leagues due to the slower pace of the game rather than cast aside as you suggest. Look at the likes of Inzaghi, Maldini, Seedorf, Del Piero, Cannavaro, I could go on.

  • Comment number 71.

    Nikos

    You haven't a clue about Football, have you not seen the quotes from Lippi, Zidane, Davids etc talking about how great Paul Scholes is. Ryan Giggs also gets the same international recognition, Maldini and Cryuff both said he'd be the on there team of best 11s.

    As for last night I agree with comment number 6, I thought we played really well especially in the first half but not getting the second goal till near the end meant for a few nervous moments. Anderson looks like he is coming back into form and will be a great player. Comment no 10 not sure why you don't rate Anderson maybe it's because of who you support.

  • Comment number 72.

    #47 - Rubbish, worse than Nikos. Scholes retired a long itme ago for England and Giggs has also done so for Wales.

    At club level, the likes of Henry, Raul, Del Piero and half the Milan team are still playing at the top in Spain annd Itlay.

    I fail to see your point.

  • Comment number 73.

    Malicious Whistle - Scholes cost us the game at Fulham? Are you sure? Or was it that we went there with too little drive and imagination and failed to do anything about it even when we were tonking them with ten men?

    Agree with you on Gary Neville but as far as Scholesy is concerned, I'm reminded of the wise words of one commentator on an England game: "You've got to feel bad for Gerrard and Lampard, who know that if Paul Scholes hadn't retired from internationals one of them wouldn't be playing now."

  • Comment number 74.

    Phil, I do agree with your view on Tevez, and I am a really big fan of Tevez. I think £32m is just too much for him, in some ways I do see him as a lesser version of Rooney. His desire for the team is tremendous and this is what the fans love. But for me, for a striker, he has been too inconsistent in front of goal. Saying this his link up play is superb and he can hold the ball up well. But for me Rooney does this too and is more lethal in front of goal. Hurts me to say this, but I think he will be leaving, but none the less I'm glad I have a shirt with his number on the back.

    Was thinking the other day if United had signed Torres a few seasons back when we were linked with him (probably newspaper rubbish though!)...I think we'd be close to unstoppable.

    Looks like Nikos is up to his usually tricks, he's good at completely missing the point.

  • Comment number 75.

    As much as I dislike Man Utd and everyone associated with the club, I do have to admit that Scholes is definitely my type of footballer and certainly a legend of his generation.
    It was also of my understanding that when Beckham first went to Madrid, there was one questions he was constantly asked by his fellow Galictico's "What was it like to play with Paul Scholes?" To them, he was the one player who they would all love to play with, for by playing his game, he would make it far easier to play theirs.

  • Comment number 76.

    I find it astonishing that a player can continue to live on his past performances, no matter how great, when he is clearly a shadow of the player he once was. Paul Scholes can still produce the very occassional moment of magic as seen last night, unfortunately this is far too rare. Most appearances it is difficult to remember anything that he does other than give the ball away or receive a yellow card for a poor tackle or deliberate handball!
    Yes, he isn't flash and doesn't talk to the press but this does not make him a better player on the pitch. It has been the same for the past 6 seasons, brief periods of good form followed by very long periods of indifferent ineffectual displays.
    Some players such as Scholes are just pundit friendly and will never be criticised, whereas some players can put in astounding display game after game and never be mentioned until they make one mistake, Patrice Evra being the perfect example.
    Please can this sycophantic drivel about Scholes still being world class and worthy of an England place be put to rest once and for all.

  • Comment number 77.


    40. At 12:58pm on 23 Apr 2009, Devon boy wrote:

    "Low standards! How dare you!"


    Low standards = Gerrard, Vidic, VDS, Giggs, Ferdinand PFA's nominees (Barcelona alone have four players currently head and shoulders above ANY in the list).

    Low standards = Cantona, Beckham, Scholes, Giggs, Gasgoine, Best absolute legends of English football.

    Low standards = Clubs outside the top 4 contain collectively ZERO world class internationally established players, and duly find it extremely hard against 3rd tier European opposition or get outclassed against decent or half-decent opposition.

    Low standards = Long flat throw considered quality of sorts.

    Low standards = David Moyes and Steve Bruce have been dubbed as 'best managers in the world' by their respective owners. Vidic, Gerrard and Torres dubbed as best in the world in their positions by fans and media.

    Low standards = Michael Owen quality striker but not yet fully fit.

    Low standards = United supposedly have strength in depth with Neville, Anderson, Park, Tosic, Carrick, Nani, Scholes, Berbatov, Welbeck, Fabio, Rafael, o'Shea, Evra, Fletcher, Evans, Gibson in their squad - NONE of whom is world class and some of whom would be perfectly at home in the Championship.

    Low standards = United fans using the term "World Champions".

    Low standards = In the 2 transfer windows the top team buys Berbatov, 2 Serbian youngsters and another one from Stoke. Neville's, Scholes's, Giggs's and VDS's contracts are extended and fans are fine with it. Ben Foster is United's (and England's) next no.1 and fans seem happy to accept it.



  • Comment number 78.

    It is great to see United and Liverpool fans argeeing on something for once, Paul Scholes is a United legend, not for what he has done this season (as for him it has been a quiet one) but for past seasons. with out him I am sure we would of not had some of the success we have had over the last 15 years. A true great and a ultmate professional.
    As for the title race for people who say its over are fools. Liverpool still pose a great threat they have an easy run in than us, we still got to play City who always up our game against us and make it hard. If we can win the next four games then I think our Eleventh Crown is on the way. But I think Liverpool will Chase us till the death.

  • Comment number 79.

    Tevez is a good reliable footballer but 32 mil is way over the top. Given the choice between Tevez and Berbatov though I would go with the little guy, purely because of his work ethic. Goal scoring is about the same for each of them, both seem to score every now and then but neither are consistant enough goal scorers for 30 mil strikers. Utd never have as yet found a replacement for Ruud!

  • Comment number 80.

    67 - Sixty Nine - nothing to do with Anglophiles - I am Footballphile, guilty as charged, so come at this with a non-biased attitude, something always useful in a debate. You might try it sometime.
    The facts, which you seem to miss is that 4 teams qualify for the Champions League, very often the winner of the event is not even the Champion of their country - a little strange wouldn't you say?
    The English have won nothing for a long time at international level as the team almost exclusively play their football in England and therefore only play one way.
    Anyway, I blame colour television myself - when England played in 1966, the pictures were on black and white telly, since colour they have won nothing - now there's a debate worth having - :-)
    Good to talk - enjoy the rest of the season

  • Comment number 81.

    Good insight as ever.

    Those who are on Berba's back (like the guy who sits behind me at OT) are probably the same ones who did not appreciate Ray Wilkins. They don't understand that possession is all. Bill Shankly said "If we've got the ball, they can't score."

    As for Tevez, lots of sweat but not enough end product; a bit like JS Park. £30M? I don't think so.

    Finally, if Ronnie goes, and I don't think he will, we'll carry on. We've lost great players before - Joe Jordan, Ray Wilkins, Paul Ince, Jaap Stam, Ralph Milne and we've survived.

    Looking towards next season as Champions of England and Europe again, I'd say let Tevez go, spend the money on Gareth Barry (can replace Giggsy and upset the scousers to boot) and sign Michael Owen on a free. He'd be great on our bench

  • Comment number 82.

    I'm taking comfort in the fact that in the last 5 seasons from the last 21 points available (7 games) Man U have only managed an average of 12 points (fluctuating between 10-14 points) - they have 3 now so if they only managed another 9-11 and Liverpool win their remaining games I'll be a happy man.

  • Comment number 83.

    11. At 11:15am on 23 Apr 2009, JAGOMUFC wrote:

    Great Blog Phil, Scholes is a legend an we will drag ourselves over the finish line to win the league again, i garantee Liverpool dont get as close as they did this season in the next one, they just had 1 good season bless em!!

    ===================================================
    On what do you base your g(u)arantee????? Do you know something we don't?? ;)

  • Comment number 84.

    I can't see you not winning the title now. Especially as your defence will be much stronger now that Gary Neville's out.

    Arsenal and Everton have virtually sorted out your main opposition.

    Good luck for the rest. Apart from the CL of course.

  • Comment number 85.

    If you'd have asked me up until November I would have taken Tevez for upto 30Million, however after the last 5 months of poor displays from him and Berbs I would get rid of both. Tevez is just a poor man's Rooney and Berb well he does nothing for a team that plays fast football. If we moved the ball slowly and didn't attack quickly he would possibley fit in he just isn't of the class. However perhaps he needs another season to gel, and we need to replace Tevez with a better player, and if Ronaldo strops off perhaps we can get two players in, i'd be all for Benezma or Eto'o or Villa and possibly a winger Giovinco looks promising or maybe Ribery or Antonio Valencia

  • Comment number 86.

    Raging-Spur

    But would he be as recognized in the footballin world for his ability if he never have played for man u???

    -------------------------------------------

    Yes. Because I think had he even started his playing carer at a smaller club, he still would have been bought by a big club for his vision, passing and goal scoring.

    Players like Giggs stand out more because they have they have the skills, but the quality of players such as Scholes are recognised by managers equally as much.

    It's a bit like saying would Puyol be as recognised in football if he didn't play for Barcelona. No, because he hasn't got the obvious skills that a Messi has, for example.

    Sometimes, the more subtle qualities in certain footballers need to be highlighted more than in other players who possess more instantly clear skills.

    If Scholes, for example, played for Charlton and so too did Messi, Messi would grab the headlines more than Scholes, but it wouldn't take away the fact that Scholes is still an outstanding player at what he does, it's just that Messi's ability would be more obvious to people.

  • Comment number 87.

    You folks should steer clear of NikosBg. Here's barely here for the debate. he's playing with you, getting under your skin, rubbing over his boredom, and managing to enjoy himself at the same time. I can see the ironic smile on his face as he reads this. Got it all? IGNORE him.

  • Comment number 88.

    At 12:01pm on 23 Apr 2009, NikosBg wrote:
    "People claim Scholes or Giggs are greats because they gave one assist or scored one goal (along with plenty of misplaced passes) in every 10 or 20 matches. That's after being rested for the remaining half of the season.

    These people have to understand that in modern football world class midfielders, the likes of Iniesta, Xavi, Ribery, Diego et al., can give the same amount of passes, make the same runs, the same steals and have the same effect on the play in one game alone. Not to mention their pace, distance covered or consistency of performance from one game to another.

    In half of their games this season, Scholes and Giggs have been anonymous to say the least.

    If they played in a different country, they would be automatically dubbed by the English pundits end public as 'past it', not just 'ageing' but 'help the aged', 5 years or so ago. Just remember how you/they were talking about Milan's brilliant midfield when they faced English sides - based on the factor of age and fitness alone. Well these players were then much younger than Scholes and Giggs are now.

    The truth is that none of these two will not be remembered as one of football's true greats, apart from inside this country with its low standards and media hype, where even guys like Cantona or Beckham are considered absolute legends.

    When Scholes came on against Everton he kicked somebody straight away and then was trying not to get sent off. In the CL final he was the worst player on the pitch. Giggs didn't even start that game."

    You're kiddin' me boy???
    Go back to Bulgaria,Aytos...yeah,that's where he's from.

  • Comment number 89.

    benpenn wrote:
    Malicious Whistle - Scholes cost us the game at Fulham? Are you sure? Or was it that we went there with too little drive and imagination and failed to do anything about it even when we were tonking them with ten men?
    __________________________________________

    That's exactly the point. They were demoralised by his sending-off! There was no real will to win the game with ten men which was not impossible. He merely worsened a bad situation!

  • Comment number 90.


    Scholes and Giggs were decent footballers in them prime, but calling them as two of the all-time best alongside the likes of Platini or Zidane is complete disrespect to the true greats of the game.

    They are footballers of lesser reputation outside the isles in comparison to their peers around Europe.

    They do not belong in Pele's Fifa 100 official list of 125 players of all time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIFA_100

    They do not belong in any of the lists of the 50 or 100 players of all time published for the turn of the century.

    http://www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/best-x-players-of-y.html

    http://www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/iffhs-century.html#eupoy

    The Association of Football Statisticians has analysed every fact and figure over the last 100 years for their more recent list (it is UK-based)

    http://www.mcalcio.com/top-100-soccer-players-ever-by-the-association-of-football-statisticians/

    Giggs comes 62nd along with names such as Wiltord, Trezeguet, Albertini, Vieira and Owen and some way below Litmanen and Lineker. Scholes is 89th. Bear in mind that as this list was published in 2007, it is highly likely that others from Spain or other nations have by now overtaken them.

    These lists do not mean much individually and can lead to ridiculous conclusions if viewed on their own, but collectively they give some evidence that these players will most likely be forgotten across the world in a few decades' time.



  • Comment number 91.

    I think Tevez issue is a tricky one for United fans. He gives his absolute all, scored crucial goals for us last season & alongside Rooney & Ronaldo formed a potent front line for us. This season he hasn't been given the opportunity to build on that partnership. He's now clearly third choice striker & it is hard to justify that amount of money for him particularly as we have some promising prospects who deserve some more opportunities. At the same time it is great to call on the quality of a Tevez when the likes of Chelsea & Liverpool make do with Di Santo or El Zhar. Though I think most United fans feel if money is to be spent on a new forward then it should be on someone who can offer something different, like a forward some pace. But I think after a few years of heavy spending United may be a bit quite on the transfer front.

    On Scholes, there is no doubt that he has been a top class performer over the years. His form has been a bit scratchy of late but I believe that's because he has been in and out of the team a lot. For me United's best central midfield combination is Scholes & Carrick. After all it's these two that have provided the basis for the title wins over the last few seasons. People talk a lot about having a holding midfielder but if you don't give the ball away then it's less of an issue winning the ball back. A true great & he will be missed once he finally calls it a day.

  • Comment number 92.

    nokosBG
    For god's sake stop spouting rubbish. Think what you will, United are current European Champions, the team that your fabulous Barcelona couldn't score against in 180 minutes of football last season.

    Either show some courage and tell us who you support, or clear off. but you won't do either will you? Some of your comments verge on being racist; but that's what you intend doing isn't it? aggravating and annoying people just for the effect.

  • Comment number 93.

    For those saying United have won the title "by default" this year due to the failings of others - we are currently on 74 points and need another 13 to guarantee the title. That would make 87, the same as we got last year.

    We may have not played as exciting football or performed as well against the big teams this season, but in terms of points were are pretty much the same.

  • Comment number 94.

    oh nikos nikos nikos, I really shouldnt rise to it, but hey im very bored so here we go.

    Low standards = Gerrard, Vidic, VDS, Giggs, Ferdinand PFA's nominees (Barcelona alone have four players currently head and shoulders above ANY in the list).

    * Name me one Defender for Barca better than Vidic or Ferdinand, or a better centre midfielder than Gerrard???


    Low standards = Cantona, Beckham, Scholes, Giggs, Gasgoine, Best absolute legends of English football.

    * All of them are legends of english football for a reason, and most are in fact legends of world football.

    Low standards = Clubs outside the top 4 contain collectively ZERO world class internationally established players, and duly find it extremely hard against 3rd tier European opposition or get outclassed against decent or half-decent opposition.

    * true, but clubs outside the top 4 in any league contain Zero world class internationals. yes they struggle against european opposition, but a lot of that is down to stupid managers playing weakened teams.

    Low standards = Long flat throw considered quality of sorts.

    * Il give you that one, its a bit embarrassing

    Low standards = David Moyes and Steve Bruce have been dubbed as 'best managers in the world' by their respective owners. Vidic, Gerrard and Torres dubbed as best in the world in their positions by fans and media.

    * On Current form I cant state any player better than vidic or Gerrard in positions for sure. Torres maybe not but certainly up there with the best.

    Low standards = Michael Owen quality striker but not yet fully fit.

    * I dont actually get what your point is here?

    Low standards = United supposedly have strength in depth with Neville, Anderson, Park, Tosic, Carrick, Nani, Scholes, Berbatov, Welbeck, Fabio, Rafael, o'Shea, Evra, Fletcher, Evans, Gibson in their squad - NONE of whom is world class and some of whom would be perfectly at home in the Championship.

    * Show me a team in the world with better strength in depth. From that list Anderson, Park, Carrick, Scholes, Berbatov (sometimes), Evra & Rafael are quality players (evra being one of the best leftbacks in european football), and the rest are decent cover.

    Low standards = United fans using the term "World Champions".

    * You are quite right, being world champions after winning the champions league is incredibly low standards. If thats low standards what are high standards....what else is there to win???

    Low standards = In the 2 transfer windows the top team buys Berbatov, 2 Serbian youngsters and another one from Stoke. Neville's, Scholes's, Giggs's and VDS's contracts are extended and fans are fine with it. Ben Foster is United's (and England's) next no.1 and fans seem happy to accept it.

    * We didnt need to strengthen that much as we have established before we won the top prizes in club football. Foster is being targeted as a possible future keeper for england and Utd, based on what I have seen I would disagree, but he is young.

    Utd are european champions and a possible 3 games away from becoming the first team to retain the champions league....if thats low standards, what standards do the rest of europe aim for???

  • Comment number 95.

    Not sure the title race is over just yet. Surely everyone was expecting United to dispose of Portsmouth last night? Their tricky run of games starts now with Spurs/Boro/City/Wigan/Arsenal with the CL games thrown in. Plenty potential for a dropped point or 3 there.

    Obviously it's theirs to lose but it's been a strange old season, you never know...


    Oh and congrats to NikosBg & Rotterdam - two of the finest trolls i've seen online.

  • Comment number 96.

    by the way before every gets too carried away with Scholes, this season he definitely looks over the hill. he is past it. Giggs on the other hand, still looks a class act - and he's a year older, so for my money Giggs is the one who has lasted the best. anyway, Scholes obviously was a terrific player, but speaking as an Arsenal fan, if he lines up against my club in the Champions league next week, I'll be a happy man!

  • Comment number 97.

    NikoBG.....

    I hear what you're saying and I think you make a fair comment, Scholes will not be remembered in the same way as Zidane or Pele.

    But we're talking here about a player who has been fantastic for Manchester United for many years - a great player at what he does.

    I would take the Pele top 125 list with a pinch of salt. It's highly political and is no way a true reflection of reality. For a start, he had to list current players in there. Will Michael Owen go down as a great?! Diouf?!

    And with players like Gary Lineker in there and George Best ranked at only 19th, the list doesn't hold much credibility for me.

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 99.

    Just a thought if Manchester United were to retain the Premiership, history will be written - they would become the first English team to win 3 successive league Championships on two separate occasions (the first being 1999,2000 & 2001) phenomenal achievement despite if people want to believe they would win this seasons by 'default'. Class is permanent and all that.

    As for Scholes: a true champion and constant professional his pass to Carrick last night I must say is the norm of his abilities. His induction into the English Football Hall of Fame last year was also well deserved. A true great no doubt.

    With the Tevez situation it seems it will boil down to the financial side of the transfer and if SAF and Manchester United will be willing to pay. There’s no doubt he works hard and scores crucial goals particularly in the Champions League maybe the Berbatov signing has confused everything.

  • Comment number 100.

    Also, from the Pele list, for Giggs not to be included is bizarre. Is he really saying that Pires is better? Or that Diouf is better?!

    Is Ballack better than Scholes? Nakata better than Scholes or Giggs?!

    This has to be some sort of political interference or maybe Pele's memory briefly deserted him.

 

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