We’re set to see and hear a lot more of Paul Scholes on our televisions during the upcoming campaign, after it was announced that the Manchester United legend has signed up as a pundit with BT Sport and ITV.
Scholes agreed to join BT Sport and their ever-progressing package, lending his views on the game to their Premier League coverage. Sports reporter Rob Harris confirmed on Twitter that Scholes has committed to BT for the next four years:
In addition, Scholes will also contribute to ITV’s Champions League coverage, where he’ll look to fill the void left by the departure of former Manchester United teammate Roy Keane. Keane left the channel to take up a coaching role with Aston Villa.
ITV revealed the news on Twitter:
Paul Scholes signs up as pundit for BT Sport. 4-year deal— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) July 29, 2014
After retiring from the game at the end of the 2012-13 Premier League season, Scholes seems to have decided that punditry is the best option for him as he looks to plot his next move following his glittering playing career.
Gary Lineker—former England international and current host of BBC's Match of the Day—says he is looking forward to watching how Scholes fares in the studio:
Will be very interesting to watch Paul Scholes on @btsport . If he's half as good a pundit as he was a player, he'll be a terrific signing.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 29, 2014
Sky Sports viewers were given a glimpse of what we can expect from Scholes as a pundit after he was a guest in the studio for the Manchester derby at Old Trafford last season; a game that United lost 3-0 to their city rivals.
Not only was he both frank and eloquent in his assessments of United’s performance, he provided viewers with a level of insight into the modern game that a lot of the older pundits don't have.
Not one to mince his words, Scholes was also highly critical of Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, per Sky Sports, claiming the midfielder has not progressed since he burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old.
Here’s Scholes discussing Arsenal and Wilshere alongside former teammate Gary Neville:
They’ve certainly both come a long way since this clip, when the duo were subject to media training in their younger days at Manchester United, courtesy of Jacob Steinberg of The Guardian:
For BT Sport, Scholes is a very astute acquisition. He is a true legend of the game and his opinions will surely help them to refine and improve their coverage as they get set to cover both the Premier League and the Champions League from the 2015-16 season onwards.
BT Sport anchor Jake Humphrey expressed his excitement at working with Scholes on Twitter:
Chuffed to welcome the honest, experienced & opinionated Paul Scholes to BT... I think he might just get people talking eh @rioferdy5?— Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) July 29, 2014
ITV will also feel as though they’ve got the ideal man to replace Keane. The Irishman was nonplussed by reputations and was always happy to speak his mind during his time with the channel, and that kind of edge was missing from the broadcaster’s coverage during the 2014 World Cup.
While it would be naive to expect Scholes to be quite as abrasive and forthright as Keane, his cameo appearance on Sky and his blog with bookmaker Paddy Power certainly seem to suggest he’s not going to be a pundit that sits on the fence. If Scholes has an opinion, there’s little doubt he’ll put it out there and that should make for encapsulating viewing.