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Scholes Comeback A Masterstroke, Or Desperation?

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I was as surprised as anybody last weekend when I was informed prior to the Manchester Derby FA Cup clash that Paul Scholes was named on the bench for Manchester United following a dramatic retirement U-turn.

It’s a decision that got me thinking, is this a Masterstroke from Sir Alex Ferguson or a desperate attempt to paper over the cracks in the midfield department at Old Trafford?


It’s obvious that the news of Scholes’s inclusion in the team at the Etihad Stadium gave the players and our supporters a major lift prior to the kickoff in what was a big game for United following back to back defeats in the Premier League.

Part of me then thought, are things really that bad that United have to turn to a thirty Seven year old retired player? United have been unlucky with Injuries this season, and it seems that Darren Fletcher being ruled out through illness was the key moment in this move.

Scholes made a cameo appearance in the FA Cup clash with noisy neighbours Manchester City when United were 3-0 up. Scholes did not look like a player who was playing his first competitive game for more than seven months, but I did note that a failed pass lead to City scoring in a game United held on to win 3-2.

A week on from the FA Cup victory and United hosted Bolton at Old Trafford, Sir Alex decided to play Scholes from the start and he scored the opening goal in a 3-0 victory and secured all the back page headlines on the Sunday morning. Many of the papers forgot to mention that after just thirty minutes into the game he was gasping for air and gave the ball away on a number of occasions unlike the Scholes of old.

Scholes offers United and Sir Alex something he could not have purchased in the January transfer window. He is a player who knows what playing for United is all about, knows the manager, the players, the supporters, and how to win a Premier League. People will bring his age into this argument, but at thirty Seven years old he brings experience into the squad that we need.

I think when you try to sum up this move it is simply a no brainier, and the minute Paul Scholes informed Sir Alex that he wanted to come back I am sure it did not need any thinking about or a night to sleep on it.

Many supporters have been sceptical of the signing believing that Sir Alex is not being backed in the transfer market and that funds are not available to bring in the showpiece midfielder the squad is crying out for.

My argument against this would be, do you seriously think Sir Alex would still be manger of Manchester United if the Glazers were restricting him in the transfer market by telling him there are no funds available? I personally do not think so.

From what I have seen the Glazers have backed Sir Alex in the transfer market and have continued to invest in United’s squad despite the crippling loan repayments they took out to complete the purchase of the club, but that’s another debate for another day!

 So is this move a Masterstroke or a desperate move to paper over the cracks? I think both sides of the argument evenly outweigh each other. It’s a masterstroke in the sense that Scholes has cost United nothing in a transfer fee and he brings experience that money could not have bought.

At the same time it is definitely paper over the cracks in a position where competition is not as strong as it has been in previous years. Scholes will not play every game from now until the end of the season, but what a player to have at your disposal and to have in the dressing room giving out advice to United’s youngsters.

It’s possible that United, who will definitely need a central midfielder next season, see Scholes as an experienced stop gap player to help them out until the summer, when Sir Alex will eventually sign the player he wants but cannot currently sign.

I would not be surprised to see Tottenham’s Luka Modric making the move to Old Trafford this summer, as Scholes retires for the second time in his United career after enhancing his legendary status at the club.

By Kevin Ashford @KevinAshford7