Manchester United's Paul Scholes: How Will He Be Remembered?

Pro BenchwarmerContributor IMarch 25, 2011

WIGAN, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26:  James McCarthy of Wigan Athletic competes with Paul Scholes of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Manchester United at the DW Stadium on February 26, 2011 in Wigan, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

I was having a discussion with a work colleague recently, and as we were naming the Manchester United midfield, he forgot to include Paul Scholes.

I could not believe this. I immediately presumed my colleague was an idiot, but then I got thinking...

Now, I haven't yet met anyone who wouldn't agree Scholes is one of the greatest midfielders England and the Premier League has ever seen...but will everyone remember him 10 to 20 years after he retires?

If some are overlooking him now, when he is playing a lesser, yet still important role, what will it be like in the future?

Is Scholes forgettable?

Is the little man from Salford simply too shy, too unassuming and too humble to be remembered where he belongs: in the echelon of the world greats?

Nowadays, players are judged as much on their sponsorship deals as their talent.

Scholes, though, shuns the spotlight more than most.

He doesn't have any sponsorship contracts and would much rather spent time with his young family than shooting adverts and posing for Armani posters...although, I doubt there would be much call for that anyway.

Zinedine Zidane famously said that Scholes was the best players he has ever played against.

Thierry Henry agreed, saying Scholes was the best player in the Premier League.

Xavi, probably the best central midfielder in the world at this time had this to say:

"In the last 15 to 20 years, the best central midfielder that I have seen, the most complete, is Scholes. I have spoken with Xabi Alonso about this many times. Scholes is a spectacular player who has everything. He can play the final pass, he can score, he is strong, he never gets knocked off the ball and doesn't give possession away. If he had been Spanish then maybe he would have been valued more."


Since he retired, every England manager has tried to draw Scholes out of retirement. Perhaps this is the greatest testament to his influence on the pitch.

It is without doubt that Scholes should be remembered as one of the best.

But will he be?

When Scholes retires, there will be no autobiography by which to review his glittering career, there will be few television interviews and there will certainly be no statue, he will make sure of it.

Scholes is a better player than David Beckham.

But, when all is said and done, who is more likely to be put in a list of the all-time greats?



Beckham has as much exposure as anyone has ever had...Paul Scholes has none.

Ironically, this debate will have no relevance to Scholes. He couldn't care less about being recognised, he would rather fade into obscurity and spend a quiet, comfortable life with his loved ones.

But myself, as a football fan, would hate to see this happen.

Perhaps I am being selfish.

For anyone reading this thinking what all the fuss about Scholes is about, please, next time he plays, watch him exclusively. With his incredibly combative and often cynical style, he will not be loved by many, but talent is talent and should not be overlooked.

Watch his passes, his vision, but also when he doesn't have the ball, watch his movement.

He is always free.

Bathed in space.

His intelligence on the field is his greatest asset. Just little movements create all the space his needs to play, to execute his pinpoint passes and dictate the play.

I've never seen a player physically run a match like Scholes.

People ask, how will United ever replace Giggs and Scholes?

I honestly don't know.

Maybe they won't.

Can it be a coincidence the most successful period in the clubs' history is one in which both Scholes and Giggs were the linchpins?

They have been equally important, but Giggs is more commercial. He has the boot contract, the book deal and the yoga video.

He will be remembered with the likes of Best, Charlton and Law.

But in twenty years, will Scholes?


What do you think?


Take a look at my blog for my views on Scott Parker at


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