Eric returns to warmer welcome

05 August 2011 07:03
Eric Cantona does not believe there is any chance of modern-day players enjoying the same Premier League baptism he had to endure.[LNB] Cantona returns to Old Trafford on Friday night, 14 years after his shock retirement as a Manchester United player to begin the next segment of his unconventional life, as football director of MLS hopefuls New York Cosmos.[LNB]The legendary American outfit are the opponents for Paul Scholes' testimonial, a fitting tribute to one of the greatest English players of his generation, given Cantona's presence at United inspired him to the highest honours in the game.[LNB]Cantona's took a circuitous route to Old Trafford, via a one-week trial at Sheffield Wednesday and two half seasons at Leeds, during which time he helped them win the League Championship and scored a hat-trick in the Charity Shield.[LNB]That November, he left for United, proving the catalyst for an era of dominance that is still continuing.[LNB]"I thought I had come to sign for Sheffield Wednesday," he recalled.[LNB]"We had played a friendly game in midweek, won 4-3 and I scored three goals. I didn't think that was too bad, but after a week they said I needed another week on trial. I said no and I left.[LNB]"Howard Wilkinson came and asked me to play for Leeds. I had a great time there. They had not won the title for years.[LNB]"It shows how things change. If you have played for France and you come to England now, you will be welcomed like a hero."[LNB]A hero is exactly how Cantona will be greeted this evening, even though he will be in the opposition dugout, facing Ferguson and Scholes, who confirmed his retirement a couple of days after United's Champions League defeat to Barcelona in May.[LNB]Once all the celebrations are out of the way, Scholes will sit down with Ferguson to discuss the minor details of a coaching role that has been offered in abstract without any real explanation of what will be involved.[LNB]In a sense, Scholes is an unlikely coach.[LNB]However, if he is able to transfer his unquestioned ability as a footballer onto the training ground, the 36-year-old would be an invaluable asset.[LNB]"A couple of years ago I felt like my career was never going to end, so you don't think about what to do in the future in the same way as I have done over the past six months," said Scholes.[LNB]"Football is the only thing I know a little bit about so I am going to give the coaching a go.[LNB]"If it doesn't work or I am not very good at it I won't carry on doing it."

Source: Team_Talk