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Farewell Scholsey, Farewell To A United Legend!

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After 676 games and 150 goals for the club, sadly this morning we learnt that Paul Scholes today has decided to retire from football after a quite magnificent career and that he’ll remain at the club as a coach from next season.

Though the news was expected in the eyes of many Manchester United and football fans, many of us thought that Scholsey would not have made this decision so quickly after the season had ended. 

After all it was only yesterday during the club’s open top bus victory-parade around Manchester that our number 18 was talking about the club winning title number 20.

In a way the timing of his decision is perfect, which is the word that sums up how Scholes was on the pitch during his illustrious career. Deciding to step down days after our season has ended is a great service on his part.

Scholes best of all will know that now is the time to call it a day. After two years of being somewhat on the sidelines for us,  it’s probably good for him that he can retire now rather than not be perhaps be performing at his best come the start of next season.

With the young players coming through at the club matched with our already good midfield, we are in a healthy position midfield wise at the club. Saying that though, just like when Roy Keane left the club, it will be impossible to replace what our ‘Ginger Ninja’ produced for us season after season.

There have been very few midfielders over the last 20 years or so whose respective careers can even compare to what Scholes has achieved.  Very few players win even 3-4 league championships, he’s won 10 and has played an important part in every single championship that he’s won.

What’s more than that, over the years he has earned praise from some of the greatest players in the game and there has never been anything bad said about him either.  

Tributes from your peers are always great and no tribute is fitting of Scholes than what Zinedine Zidane had to say about him:

He’s almost untouchable in what he does. I never tire of watching him play. You rarely come across the complete footballer, but Scholes is as close to it as you can get.

“One of my regrets is that the opportunity to play alongside him never presented itself during my career.”

Coming from Zidane arguably the greatest player of his generation, that is a huge compliment for Scholes and shows you just how good of a player he was when things like that are said about him.

His goals, vision and energy in midfield were vital in the success our club has had. Very few players in the Premier League were as good as him in his prime when it came to making late runs into the box when it came to finishing of moves.

Only Arsenal’s Freddi Ljunberg for a time can even come close to Scholes in that department, and the Swede only did that for a couple of years, before fading out as a player during Arsene Wenger’s side’s Unbeaten season in 2004.

As well as scoring important goals for us over the years, the amount of goals that Scholes set up for us is pretty scary number to even think about. Whether it was making a late run into the box or threading a ball through a tight defence, Scholes did it time and time for us.

Central midfield is such an important position to play at United and during his time at the club, he formed great partnerships with the likes of Roy Keane, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and even Anderson.

To be able to play so well with so many players shows you just how good a player he was as none of his central midfield partners down the years ever looked out of place playing alongside him, that’s how good he was.

Yes Scholes wasn’t the best at winning the ball, but that wasn’t his job in the team. His job was to score and create goals and over the years that’s what he did so well.

Was Michel Platini or even Zidane himself picked to defend and feed the ball to attackers. No! Their duties on the pitch were to create the goals and run the game in midfield because they were the ‘Genius’ of their respective sides.

Whilst he may not have been our most outspoken player on or off the pitch, there’s no denying that Scholes was our genius and the man who our great attacking players of the last 15 or so years relied on more often than not.

Aside from his goals and passion for all things United, arguably the most important thing that Scholes did in his career was probably the bravest thing, ending his England career after Euro 2004. 

At the time he got criticised for ‘walking out’ on England. But as he was not enjoying playing for England, due to harshly being put out to the left side of midfield by Sven-Goran Eriksson for the best part of 18 months, to accommodate room for Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard to play well in the heart of the midfield, it did make sense at the time.

One of the reasons behind this decision was that he wanted to extend his United career. Thank god he did retire from International duty when he did as it enabled us to have him for 1-2 more years longer than he might not have done had he carried on for England. 

Funily enough  his international retirement actually hurt England alot as despite bright guys like Joe Cole coming through for England, the Lampard/Gerrard partnership has never really clicked. 

It’s a credit to Scholes that he’s stuck by his decision and it shows you just how much England really needed him and why ultimately Sven was wrong to put him out on the left, when he was the ‘balance’ that the team badly needed during the later years of his reign.

So what else can be said about Scholes other than the fact he scored goals my lord, he scored goals.  

Whilst I am pleased for him that he’s been able to end his career on his own terms, he has been such an integral part of our team next season will feel very strange without seeing his name as part of our squad next season.

Scholes has been someone that I’ve grown up watching as a fan. From my early memories of him in our team that won the double back in 1996, to his important displays in our treble-winning side in 1999 right up to the present.

Scholsey is simply Manchester United through and through. Very few Youtube videos on the net really do him justice, but this one I believe does.

Thank you Scholsey for all you’ve given to the club and we hope that in your new role as part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s coaching team you will inspire our squad and new stars for many years to come.

By Adam Dennehey – @ADennehey87