Today’s Player of the Day is Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes. Having played for the Manchester club since 1993 Scholes has made to date, 699 appearances and has scored 154 goals. Scholes has won everything there is to be won with United, including numerous Premier League titles, two Champions League medals as well as FA Cups, League Cups and FIFA World Club cups.
Cited by many as one of the best midfielders of his generation, his playing style has received many plaudits. Thierry Henry said, "Without any doubt the best player in the Premiership has to be Scholes. He knows how to do everything."
When asked about Scholes, Bobby Charlton stated, "Paul is always so in control and pin-point accurate with his passing – a beautiful player to watch".
Whilst Marcello Lippi remarked that Scholes is "an all-round midfielder who possesses quality and character in abundance."
BBC football pundit and former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen has described Scholes as "one of the top three to five players to have ever played in the Premier League" and commented "his passing, movement and technique set examples to everyone."
Manchester United team mate Nani commented "he’s the best midfielder I’ve ever seen. He can pass, score goals with his left, right, his head – he can do anything."
The one aspect of his game frequently criticised was his tackling, which was recognised as inept by pundits, fans and Scholes himself. In addition, the potential for malicious intent in some of his tackles has been raised it has been suggested that he has escaped greater censure due to the admiration that pundits have for him. However, Scholes said in an interview after his retirement that the tackles were to get back at players who had fouled him earlier in the game and the infamy surrounding his tackles led to him often being unnecessarily booked.
In February 2011, Barcelona midfielder Xavi rated Scholes as the best player in his position in the past two decades, stating "A role model. For me, and I really mean this, he's the best central midfielder I've seen in the last 15, 20 years. He's spectacular, he has it all, the last pass, goals, he's strong, he doesn't lose the ball, vision. If he'd been Spanish he might have been rated more highly. Players love him." This sentiment was echoed by Barcelona manager, Josep Guardiola, who considered Scholes to be the best midfielder of his generation.
After 17 years with the club Scholes announced his retirement on 31st May 2011, with immediate effect, and joined the coaching staff at Old Trafford. However On 8 January 2012, Scholes reversed his decision to retire because of the injury crisis in the Manchester United squad and made his return as a substitute during a 3–2 win, against neighbours Manchester City in the FA Cup. His customary number 18 shirt occupied by Ashley Young, Scholes wore the number 22 which he had last worn during the 1995–96 season as he replaced Nani in the 59th minute.
He made his first start in the next game against Bolton Wanderers, where he scored his first goal since returning in a 3–0 victory at Old Trafford, converting a Wayne Rooney pass; this meant he had scored at least one goal in every season in the Premier League since 1994–95. He scored his second goal since coming back in a 2–1 away win against Norwich City on 26 February, heading home a cross from Nani. On 8 April, he scored in a 2–0 win against Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford, helping Manchester United to go eight points clear of rivals Manchester City in the Premier League.
On 30 May, Scholes signed a one-year extension with Manchester United, keeping him at the club until 2013. Scholes has already made an impressive start to the 2012-13 season and was instrumental in United’s recent 3-2 win over Southampton.
Become a fan of Scholes on Facebook by liking his Official PFA page: