Legends: Paul Scholes Player Profile

Paul Scholes

Never before has England seen such an intelligent footballer than Paul Scholes. Scholes has been a pivotal part of the Manchester United line up for well over a decade now and is still looking just as impressive as he did in 1994.

The early years

Paul Scholes was born and raised in Salford and has been with Manchester United since his early teens. He scored two goals on his debut for United in the Coca-Cola cup in September 1994 and showed great promise and awareness at the young age of just 20.

He broke into the first team in 1994/95 and scored 5 goals in 17 appearances for the reds. He proved to be a more than adequate understudy for the three forwards at the club (Andy Cole, Mark Hughes and Eric Cantona). Scholes didn't get as much playing time as Neville, Butt and Beckham in the early days but many reds could see the potential that he had to pick passes out and to arrive late in the box and score vital goals.


Scholes played a vital part in the side that won the double in 1996. The same side that Alan Hansen said could not win anything. Scholesy scored twice against Bolton and twice against Chelsea earlier in the season. The Bolton game was vitally important as he was playing up front alongside Ryan Giggs as Hughes had been sold to Chelsea in the summer, Andy Cole was injured and Cantona was still suspended. He showed glimpses of the genius that he possesses in these games and also in the 5-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest in the penultimate league match of the season. Scholes went on to win a Premiership title and an FA Cup.


Scholes first major season in the Premiership was the 1997/98 campaign. He played a vital part in the famous 3-2 victory over Juventus at Old Trafford and the 5-3 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge. Unfortunately for Scholes and Manchester United the season ended trophy less with Arsenal winning the Premiership and FA Cup.

1998/99 proved to be the most famous season in the clubs illustrious history and Scholes was again vital to the success of the side. He played in the two amazingly entertaining 3-3 draws with Barcelona and scoring in the tie at Old Trafford. He scored in the a tie towards the end of the season against Sheffield Wednesday and scored that vitally important goal in the San Siro against Inter Milan. Scholes was a booking away from playing in the European Cup final in what proved to be the most memorable final ever. Scholes (and Keane's) contribution to the success of that side will never be overlooked or forgotten when remembering the European Cup winning side.

The following seasons saw Paul Scholes rise to becoming one the best midfielders in the world. His passing, movement and positioning to get into the box at the right time was magnificent and drew in many plaudits. In a magazine interview he was once compared to Zidane, a comment he appreciated but modestly disagreed with. I have seen similarities in their game and although Zidane opted for a more flair-like approach both players have tremendous vision.

Scholes also found that his United form was making him one of the first names on the England team sheet. Kevin Keegan, the England manager at the time, played Scholes in qualifier against Poland in which he scored at hat trick. He played in four tournaments for England:

He retired from international football in 2004 at the age of 29 to concentrate on his Manchester United career.

2004 to 2008

Post England retirement Paul Scholes lost some form and had a horrific eye injury that threatened his career. Thankfully Scholes was able to overcome this injury and play in the final game of the 2005/06 season against Charlton, a game in which United won 2-0.

The 2006/2007 season saw Scholes play some unbelievable football. He scored one of the best goals the Premiership has ever seen against Aston Villa and scored vital goals in the title run in against Blackburn Rovers. He celebrated his 500th appearances for the club against Liverpool by scoring the opening goal. He received much praise for the way in which he played and was only really beaten by the superb performances by his United team mate Cristiano Ronaldo, a real beneficiary of Scholes vision and passing.

Paul Scholes played an important part in the double winning season of 2007/08. Scholes scored the vital goal against Barcelona at Old Trafford to send Manchester United to Moscow in their third European Cup final. Scholes had missed three months of season with an injury but showed all of his class in his returning months striking up a good partnership with Michael Carrick. Scholes played in the final of the European Cup, nine years on from missing the 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich. Sir Alex Ferguson stated that Scholes was "The first name on the team sheet ".

Scholes recently announced that he will retire in 2010 when he will be in his thirty sixth year. Paul Scholes has been the ultimate servant to United as summed up by former team mate Roy Keane: "No celebrity bullshit, no self-promotion - an amazingly gifted player who remained an unaffected human being"

Paul Scholes: The complete midfielder

Many reds will think after reading this heading "Surley a complete midfielder can tackle?!", it is true Scholes is a poor tackler but has a great work rate and can break up play. He works hard and gets into the box late and scores lots of important goals, the same way in which Bryan Robson used to do. United have been very lucky to have such a classy player in the ranks for so many years. Many of the players from that golden generation have moved on and only a few remain – I for one am very glad that the genius that is Paul Scholes never did.