Paul Scholes is a bit of a media mystery. The quiet, unassuming central midfielder has firmly established his position as one of the best players to ever grace the Premiership. Regarded by those who have played with or against him as one of the most talented footballers they’ve ever witnessed, he has shown how to grow old in a predominantly young industry with distinction and class, accompanied by fellow youth graduate and current teammate Ryan Giggs.
Last night’s performance encouraged a copious amount of praise and deservedly so, after he dictated the tempo and took full control of Man Utd’s opening fixture against newly promoted Newcastle. The man who has been his manager for the entirety of his 17-year, and counting, tenure at Old Trafford lavished Scholes’ performance and attitude, stating in his post match interview, “He’s got marvellous passing range and vision.” He went on to say, “Anyone who gets to that age and retains that appetite is blessed with something special.”
The appetite Sir Alex mentioned is likely to be attributed to Scholes’ professionalism and his avoidance of the media. This rare shyness has helped maintain as balanced and normal family lifestyle a professional footballer can possibly have. With each interview Scholes does, silence falls, as the occasions are as rare as a well-timed Scholes tackle. Shunning away from the cameras off pitch has enhanced his ability to shine on it; with every caressed and considered touch of the ball he takes, followed with great interest.
Along with Giggs, Scholes has shown how a player has to be flexible in positioning as the career progresses and the legs become heavier. Formerly a box-to-box goal-scoring midfielder, Scholes now finds himself as the midfield maestro, spreading play and as previously mentioned, dictating the games tempo.
As earlier referenced, his inability to tackle appropriately is arguably the little maestro’s biggest flaw. As much as I appreciate this man’s ability, especially on the ball, I can’t understand how someone who has played professional football for the past 17 years is unable to time a tackle. The most infuriating thing is how commentators, pundits and journalists alike seem to accept it as a given with Scholes, to the point that a well-timed tackle is greeted with great applause. I’m yet to hear one opposing view on what should have been corrected years back during the training sessions he’s employed to attend. I wish this semi-rant not to distract Scholes’ adoring fans (both at Old Trafford and across the country) but it should be recognised as a flaw that ought have been addressed a long time ago.
That being said, as a football fan, I do hope to see Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs continue these intoxicating and fledgling careers of theirs for years to come, providing it doesn’t result in another league title!