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Paul Scholes was absolutely quality, from his range of passing to his finding the back of the net with some of the Premier League’s all-time great goals. Superb.
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That goal is merely the tip of the iceberg of magical moments and highlights of the former England international’s glittering career – Scholesy’s decision to retire from the Three Lions after Euro 2004, at the age of just 29, was a huge blow for then-manager Sven Goran Eriksson. And England are still yet to produce a midfielder since the Red Devils man to possess all the attributes Scholes brought to the ‘party’.
When we have those mind-numbingly repetitive and pointless debates down the local watering hole with friends over ‘who is the best *enter position* in Premier League history?’ Scholes’ name will always be there or thereabouts, and quite rightly so.
I know the title isn’t quite fitting of the content so far, and no doubt you United fans were ready to come out of your London homes, with pitchforks ready. Don’t worry, though, I’m sure you’ll need them?.
Scholes is benefitting from something I call ‘Ledley King syndrome’ with the former Tottenham Hotspur defender’s persistent injuries ending up being the best thing for his unjustified reputation as one of the finest Premier League centre-backs ever – King only made over 30 appearances in the top flight of English football twice. TWICE. But don’t let that stop Tottenham fans telling you he was the perfect blend of Rio Ferdinand, Tony Adams, John Terry and Wes Morgan.
There’s been a lot of quotes regarding Scholes from some of the finer players of football from Pele to Zinedine Zidane. However, due to the modern day football fan, it was the following quote from Cristiano Ronaldo that really got the bandwagon in motion.
“When we were in training, I used to do a lot of tricks which hardly any players at the club could do. Once I was showing my skills to Scholes.
“After I finished, Scholes took the ball and pointed to a tree which was about 50m from where we were standing. He said, I’m going to hit it in one shot. He kicked and hit the tree. He asked me to do the same; I kicked about 10 times, but still couldn’t hit it, with that accuracy. He smiled and left.”
Not denying it’s probably true – although we all have a tendency to exaggerate stories when telling them to people who weren’t there – however, after the Real Madrid icon’s story, that’s when all the quotes from Zidane, Xavi, Edgar Davids and the like came out from the woodwork.
You then had Thierry Henry going over the top on Sky Sports, making sure the whole world and his wife knew that he felt Paul Scholes was the best English midfielder of all-time – the sceptics amongst us will ask just how often a striker and an attacking-midfielder on the opposition team will come up against one another on the football field, though.
Perhaps Scholes really is the midfielder to be held up as the ‘ultimate one’ but, if he his, he’d do well to ask the bandwagon jumpers, who want to be associated with the same thought process as someone like Pele…
“If he was playing with me, I would have scored so many more.”
…to form their own opinions on him, before then asking them where were these quotes/opinions when he was actually in the peak years of his career?
Paul Scholes wasn’t a glamorous midfielder or man in his playing days but, as this hipster footballing world develops, it certainly seems glamorous to invent and exaggerate that he was.
That’s the thing with ‘football hipster movements’, they very quickly just become the norm because everyone wants to be a hipster, they want to be ‘that’ guy.
Wait…does this make me a hipster?