It’s been two weeks since Manchester City defeated Manchester United in the heated Manchester derby down at Wembley, and I still can’t understand how such a gifted professional like Paul Scholes loses his head and lets the red mist descend over him when the game isn’t going his way.
Without a doubt, Paul is one of the most talented, gifted midfielders of our generation, and it has been a privilege to watch him play, but since his debut in September '94, he has never been able to escape the fact that many people see him as a dirty player. Here’s a quote from Arsene Wenger in 2010:
"Who wouldn't want a quality player like Paul Scholes in his team? But ask me if he's been a fair player, I say no. I'm sorry, for me, he's not been fair. There's a little bit of a darker side in him. I don't like some things he does. It's not because you are older suddenly that you are a saint.”
Is it an amazing will to win for Scholes that he has to throw himself 110 percent into every challenge? Does he feel too pressured to deliver in the biggest games? Or is it a nasty streak that comes out when things just aren’t going his way? After a debate about the matter with friends, we thought that he seems to lose it when we could do with his brilliance on the field and not sat in the dressing room because of five seconds of stupidity. Does he just have a dirty side? Or is he a dirty player full stop?
I decided to research into every red card Schools has received for Manchester United and England to determine the outcome and the importance of the games in which they happened. (Only red cards in competitive games were checked. He has red cards in preseason games before and been suspended for the start of the season)