Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that he had to talk veteran midfield maestro Paul Scholes out of retiring at the end of the season.
The 35-year-old former England international was eventually persuaded to pen a new one-year contract at Old Trafford, after a pep talk from the wily Ferguson.
He told United's official magazine, Inside United: "I did speak to him. 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'.
"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 Man City. He helped to control the match."