Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed he talked midfield maestro Paul Scholes out of retiring.
Scholes has signed a one-year contract extension with Manchester United after initially expressing doubts over whether to continue with his career, which could yet yield him a 10th Premier League title winners medal next week.
"I did speak to him," Ferguson told United's official magazine Inside United. "He'd intimated that he may retire at the end of the season. I said, 'I'll decide when you retire.look, Paul, you can play there's no question of that. Your ability's there, there's no deterioration in your actual play'.
Recent performances suggest it was the correct move, with Scholes being as influential as any United player in the Red Devils taking Chelsea to the last day of the season to clinch the championship.
His last-gasp matchwinner at Manchester City was a throwback to Scholes' halcyon days.
And, although Ferguson admitted he needed to twist the 35-year-old's arm, he was not willing to let such ability slip through his fingers.
The United boss added: "When you get to his age, and the same goes for Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, there's a deterioration in the physical aspect of it. That's natural. We all face that.
"But in terms of his ability, there's no deterioration whatsoever.
"In fact, Paul's every bit as good, if not even better, because the experience he's added to the ability he's got means he's a big asset to us - as he was against City. He helped to control the match."