Paul Scholes

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Paul Scholes
P Scholes.jpg
Scholes with Manchester United in 2008
Personal information
Full name Paul Scholes[1]
Date of birth (1974-11-16) 16 November 1974 (age 39)[1]
Place of birth Salford, England
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)[2]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Manchester United (coach)
Youth career
1991–1993 Manchester United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1993–2012 Manchester United 499 (107)
2012–2013 Manchester United 16 (1)
Total 499 (107)
National team
1993 England U18 3 (0)
1997–2004 England 66 (14)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Paul Scholes (/ˈpɔːl ˈsklz/; born 16 November 1974) is a retired English footballer who played his entire professional career for Manchester United and is currently co-owner of Salford City.

Born in Salford, but later moving to Langley, Scholes excelled in both cricket and football whilst at school. He first trained with Manchester United at the age of 14 after being spotted by a scout visiting his school, signing for them as an apprentice on leaving school in 1991, and turning professional in 1993. He made his full debut for United in the 1994–95 season. He went on to play a key part in the club's Treble-winning success in the 1998–99 season, and has won 11 Premier League, three FA Cup and two UEFA Champions League winners medals.

Scholes represented the England national team from 1997 to 2004, gaining 66 caps and participating in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, as well as the UEFA Euro 2000 and Euro 2004 tournaments.

Cited by many of his footballing peers as one of the best midfielders of his generation, Scholes has also been criticised for his disciplinary record, amassing over 120 bookings in all competitions during his career and being sent off ten times.[3][4][5]

Scholes made 718 appearances for United, the third-highest number of appearances by any player for the club. Scholes announced his retirement from playing on 31 May 2011, receiving a testimonial match, and began his coaching career at the club from the 2011–12 season onward. However, he reversed this decision on 8 January 2012, and went on to play one more season before retiring again in May 2013.[6][7]

Early years[edit]

Scholes was born at Hope Hospital in Salford, Greater Manchester, the son of Stewart and Marina Scholes. The family moved to Langley, Greater Manchester when he was 18 months old, where he lived on Bowness Road and Talkin Drive.[8] He attended the St Mary's RC Primary School in Langley. The first team he played for was Langley Furrows. Scholes also excelled at cricket. At age 14, he began training with Manchester United.[9] He later joined as a trainee upon leaving the Cardinal Langley Roman Catholic High School in Middleton during the summer of 1991.[8] In his final term at school, he was selected to represent Great Britain National Schools in football.

Club career[edit]

1994–1999[edit]

Scholes was not a member of Manchester United's 1992 FA Youth Cup-winning squad that included future senior teammates David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, but he was part of the youth team that reached the final in the following season, alongside Phil Neville.[10] Scholes turned professional on 23 July 1993 and was issued with the number 24 shirt, but did not make his breakthrough into the senior squad until the 1994–95 season, when he made seventeen league appearances and scored five goals.

His debut came on 21 September 1994, where he scored both goals in a 2–1 victory over Port Vale in the Football League Cup. His league debut came three days later against Ipswich Town at Portman Road, a game which United lost 3–2 and Scholes scored a consolation goal. He scored two league goals when he came on 10 December when United beat QPR 3–2 at Loftus Road. On 3 January 1995, he got onto the scoresheet at Old Trafford for the first time with the opener in a 2–0 league win over Coventry City. He scored once more that season, in a 3–2 away win over Coventry City on 1 May.[11]

Scholes came on as a substitute in the 1995 FA Cup final against Everton, which United lost 1–0. He came close to scoring twice late in the game, only to be foiled by Neville Southall both times.

In 1995–96, after Mark Hughes moved to Chelsea, Scholes had more first-team opportunities, standing in for the suspended Eric Cantona as Andrew Cole's strike partner for the first two months of the campaign. Scholes (now wearing the number 22 shirt) scored fourteen goals in all competitions as United became the first English team to win the double twice.[12] He picked up another Premier League winners medal in 1996–97 – in this season he changed his shirt number to 18, which he held for the next 15 years.

In the 1996 close season, when United unsuccessfully tried to sign Alan Shearer from Blackburn Rovers, the Ewood Park club reportedly demanded that United should offer Scholes in exchange if any bid for Shearer from United was to be considered. By this stage, Scholes was rated at £5million, and Blackburn had already rejected a part-exchange deal involving £7million-rated Andy Cole.[13] However, Shearer never came to Old Trafford, instead joining Newcastle United for £15million.[14]

After Roy Keane suffered a knee injury in late September 1997 and was ruled out for the season, Scholes moved to central midfield in the 1997–98 season. However, United finished the season without a major trophy, only the second time in the 1990s that this happened.[15]

In 1998–99, Scholes was a key player in Manchester United's Premier League title, FA Cup, and UEFA Champions League Treble success. He scored one of Manchester United's two goals against Newcastle in the FA Cup final. He also scored an away goal against Internazionale in the Champions League quarter-final. He came on as a substitute in the second leg of the semi final against Italian club Juventus[16] as Sir Alex Ferguson opted for Nicky Butt in the starting line up. He picked up a yellow card which ruled him out of the final victory over Bayern Munich through suspension.[17]

2000–2011[edit]

In the 1999-2000 season, Scholes scored one of the finest goals of his career against Bradford City on 25 March 2000. David Beckham took a corner directly to Scholes, who was stood on the edge of the area, who volleyed it in over Dwight Yorke, who was forced to duck.[18] A week later, he scored the first hat-trick of his United career against West Ham United in a 7-1 victory that put United 10 points clear.[19]

In 2001–02, United completed the signing of Argentine international Juan Sebastián Verón.[20] In order to accommodate Scholes and Verón, Ferguson persisted with the 4–4–1–1 formation, with Scholes playing at the withdrawn striker role behind Ruud van Nistelrooy as Roy Keane and Verón played in central midfield.[21] In European away fixtures, Scholes was often played in central midfield alongside Verón as Keane anchored.[22]

Scholes netted a career-high twenty goals in all competitions in the 2002–03 season, including a hat-trick in a 6-2 win against Newcastle United.[23] a number that dipped to fourteen the next year. This was despite a career-best four FA Cup goals, in comparison to his total of five FA Cup goals scored in his first nine seasons.

Scholes scored the winning goal in the 2003–04 FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal,[24] and played in the final which United won 3-0 against Millwall,[25] his last FA Cup winners medal. He also played in the 2005 FA Cup Final but saw his penalty saved by Jens Lehmann as they lost to Arsenal in a penalty shootout.[26]

He was ruled out for the second half of the 2005–06 campaign with blurred vision.[27] The cause of this was initially uncertain, sparking fears that it could end his career.[28] He overcame this problem through the beginning of the year and he appeared in United's final game of the season against Charlton Athletic.[29]

Paul Scholes

On 22 October 2006, in the 2–0 victory over Liverpool, Scholes became the ninth United player to play in five hundred matches, joining Bobby Charlton, Bill Foulkes, and Ryan Giggs.[30]

He experienced one of his finest seasons in 2006-07,[31] and was included in the PFA Team of the Year,[32] and was shortlisted for the PFA Players' Player of the Year.[33] One of his finest performances of the season came in a 4-1 win against Blackburn Rovers, where United were 1-0 down but Scholes "got hold of the game by the scruff of the neck" and scored the equalising goal.[34][35] Scholes was dismissed during United's 1–0 away victory over Liverpool on 3 March 2007, for swinging an arm at Xabi Alonso.[36] It marked his first league sending off since April 2005.[37] A month later, he was sent off in the first leg of United's Champions League quarter final at Roma.

Scholes with Owen Hargreaves after United's defeat to Manchester City on 10 February 2008

Scholes suffered knee ligament damage during a training session the night before United's Champions League Group F match with Dynamo Kiev on 23 October 2007, and was out of action until the end of January 2008.[38] He returned as a substitute in United's 3–1 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the fourth round of the FA Cup. On 23 April 2008, Scholes made his 100th Champions League appearance in a 0–0 draw away to Barcelona in the semi-final first leg, and scored the only goal in a 1–0 victory in the second leg that sent United into the final.[39] During the final against Chelsea, he suffered an injury and received a yellow card after a clash with Claude Makélélé; he was substituted in the 87th minute and did not take part in the penalty shoot-out, which United won 6–5 after drawing 1–1 after extra time.[40] In the 2008 UEFA Super Cup against Zenit Saint Petersburg, Scholes was sent off after he received a second yellow card, for deliberate handball.[41]

Scholes was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in September 2008.[42]

On 22 April 2009, he made his 600th appearance for United in a 2–0 win over Portsmouth.[43]

On 16 February 2010, Scholes scored his third Champions League goal of the season against Milan in a 3–2 win; it was also United's first away goal against Milan. This gave United their first away win over Milan and also made Scholes the first player to score against both Internazionale and Milan at the San Siro in the Champions League.[44] On 6 March 2010, Scholes became the 19th player in Premier League history to score 100 goals and also the third United player after Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney to do so in the 2009–10 season, netting the only goal in a 1–0 win over Wolves at Molineux.[45][46] On 16 April 2010, Scholes signed a new one-year contract with United, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2010–11 season.[47]

Scholes began the 2010–11 season strongly, displaying Man of the Match performances against Chelsea in the 2010 Community Shield on 8 August[48] and eight days later in the opening fixture of the new league campaign against Newcastle United as he assisted two goals in a 3–0 home victory.[49] Scholes scored his 150th goal for United in a 2–2 away draw against Fulham on 22 August;[50] he was also awarded the Premier League Player of the Month for August 2010.[51] In April 2011, Scholes was sent off for a high challenge on Pablo Zabaleta in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City; United went on to lose the fixture 1–0.[52]

He announced his retirement on 31 May 2011, with immediate effect, and joined the coaching staff at Old Trafford.[53]

On 5 August 2011, United held a testimonial match to honour his 17 years of service to the club. The match was played at Old Trafford against New York Cosmos.[54][55] United won the match 6–0, with Scholes opening the scoring with a trademark strike from 25 yards.

2012–2013[edit]

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.[56] 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.[57] 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.[58] 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.[59]

On 30 May, Scholes signed a one-year extension with Manchester United, keeping him at the club until summer 2013.[8][60] He marked his 700th appearance for Manchester United by scoring in a 4–0 win at home to Wigan Athletic on 15 September 2012.[61] This goal meant that he had scored in his 19th consecutive Premier League season, a feat only surpassed by current team-mate, Ryan Giggs, holding the record with 21 consecutive seasons.

On 11 May 2013, Scholes announced that he would make his second and final retirement from football at the end of the season.[62] Scholes made his 499th and final league appearance on 19 May 2013 against West Bromwich Albion as a substitute. During the game, Scholes earned his 99th Premier League yellow card, the third most all time behind Lee Bowyer, who has collected 102, and Kevin Davies with 101.

International career[edit]

Scholes made his international debut against South Africa in 1997 in a 2–1 friendly win at Old Trafford, and was included in the England squad for the 1998 World Cup. England were grouped with Colombia, Tunisia and Romania. During England's first World Cup group match against Tunisia, Scholes sealed a 2–0 victory with a goal late in the game.

His international career continued after England's elimination from the World Cup by Argentina on penalties in the first knock-out round. On 27 March 1999, Scholes managed a hat-trick for England in a game against Poland. In addition, Scholes scored both goals in England's 2–0 win at Hampden Park over Scotland in the Euro 2000 play-off first leg, sealing a 2–1 aggregate win and qualification for the finals tournament. In a qualifier against Sweden that June, Scholes became the first and last England player to be sent off in an international match at the old Wembley Stadium.[9]

With the turn of the century, Scholes became a prominent player in England's midfield, becoming a first-choice selection for the 2002 World Cup. However, after the tournament, Scholes saw his opportunities in the national team decline due to Sven-Göran Eriksson playing him out of position on the left midfield to accommodate the pairing of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in central midfield.[63] Scholes announced his retirement from international football in August 2004, citing his family life and his club career with Manchester United as being more important.[64]

In July 2006, following Eriksson's departure, there was talk of Scholes making himself available for international duty again under new manager Steve McClaren, but nothing ever came of it.[citation needed] In May 2010, McClaren's successor Fabio Capello approached Scholes about a return to international football in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup, but Scholes rejected the offer saying he'd prefer to spend time with his family.[65] On 7 June 2010, Scholes revealed had Capello given him more time and had asked earlier than he would have probably taken the opportunity.[66] On 27 July 2010, Scholes then revealed his disappointment in not taking the opportunity to play at another World Cup, saying he may have made a mistake.[67]

Discipline[edit]

Over his career, Scholes received 99 yellow and four red cards in the Premier League, making him the third most booked player in Premier League history[3][5] He has also been booked 32 times in the Champions League, more than any other player in the competition.[4][5] Arsène Wenger criticised Scholes' tackling, stating, "for me he was not a fair player. There's a little bit of a darker side in him, sometimes, that I did not like. I respect him highly as a quality player but I did not like some things he did on the football pitch".[68] Scholes said in a BBC Radio 5 Live interview that he was not a bad tackler, but that, "If someone got me early in the game, it was always in the back of my mind that I needed to get them back", and added that the bookings he received towards the end of his career were influenced by his reputation.[69]

Playing style[edit]

Paul Scholes is highly regarded for his technical skills: clean touch, passing range, vision, calmness on the ball even under pressure and rarely relinquishing possession.[peacock term] While Scholes, for the majority of his playing years, was overshadowed by other European midfielders at their peak such as Xavi, Zinedine Zidane, Edgar Davids and David Beckham, many of his contemporaries have spoken about their admiration for his talent.[70]

Sócrates of Brazil said, "(Paul Scholes) good enough to play for Brazil. I love to watch Scholes, to see him pass, the boy with the red hair and the red shirt."[71] 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",[72] whilst Marcello Lippi remarked that Scholes is "an all-round midfielder who possesses quality and character in abundance."[73] 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."[74] 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."[75]

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."[76] This sentiment was echoed by former Barcelona manager, Josep Guardiola, who considered Scholes to be the best midfielder of his generation.[77]

The one aspect of his game frequently criticised was his tackling, which was recognised as inept by pundits, fans and Scholes himself.[78][79] In addition, the potential for malicious intent in some of his tackles has been raised;[80] it has been suggested that he has escaped greater censure due to the admiration that pundits have for him.[81] 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.

Recently, many including Scholes's national team-mates have said that Scholes is the only English player in the national team that is capable of 'pulling the strings' in midfield, dictating the flow of game where England often have been criticised for being nervous on the ball and giving away possession.[82][83]

Post-playing career[edit]

In 2014, it was announced that Scholes, along with fellow Manchester United legends Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, and Phil Neville, had agreed a deal to purchase Salford City ahead of the 2014–15 season.[84][85] with plans to get the club to the Football League.[86] The group announced they would take part in a special friendly, with Salford facing a Class of '92 team.[87][88][89] On 22 September, the group agreed to sell a 50% stake in the club to billionaire Peter Lim.[90][91]

Scholes is currently a member of the backroom staff at Manchester United, having been appointed by former teammate and interim player-manager Ryan Giggs on 23 April 2014.

In July 2014, Scholes became a pundit after signing a four year deal with BT Sport, as well as featuring on ITV's coverage of the UEFA Champions League.[92][93] Scholes previously made an appearance for Sky Sports as a pundit during the 2013-14 season.[94] In August, he agreed to become a columnist for The Independent.[95]

Personal life[edit]

Scholes is asthmatic,[96] and suffered from Osgood–Schlatter disease (a knee condition that affects young athletes).[97] He married his childhood sweetheart, Claire (née Froggatt),[98][98] in Wrexham in February 1999.[99] They live in Greenfield, Greater Manchester,[100] and have three children (two sons and a daughter), the youngest of whom has autism.[101]

Scholes' shy off-field personality is seen to be in stark contrast to the attitude of the stereotypical professional footballer.[102][103] Roy Keane once highlighted that Scholes did not like the "celebrity bullshit" side of professional sports.[104] With regards to his shunning of celebrity, and instead keeping to his intention to solely focus on doing his job ("a professional footballer"), Keane applauded Scholes after his retirement.[104]

In a rare interview given before Euro 2004, Scholes described his ideal day as "train in the morning, pick up my children from school, play with them, have tea, put them to bed and then watch a bit of TV".[100] He also admitted to FourFourTwo magazine that he feared playing well during the early stages of his career, due to the media attention he would receive by doing so.

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Club Season League Cup League Cup Europe Other[nb 1] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Manchester United 1993–94 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1994–95 17 5 3 0 3 2 2 0 0 0 25 7
1995–96 26 10 2 1 1 2 2 1 31 14
1996–97 24 3 2 2 2 1 4 0 1 0 33 6
1997–98 31 8 2 0 1 0 7 2 1 0 42 10
1998–99 31 6 6 1 1 0 12 4 1 0 51 11
1999–2000 31 9 0 0 11 3 3 0 45 12
2000–01 32 6 0 0 0 0 12 6 1 0 45 12
2001–02 35 8 2 0 0 0 13 1 1 0 51 9
2002–03 33 14 3 1 6 3 10 2 52 20
2003–04 28 9 6 4 0 0 5 1 1 0 40 14
2004–05 33 9 6 3 2 0 7 0 1 0 49 12
2005–06 20 2 0 0 0 0 7 1 27 3
2006–07 30 6 4 0 0 0 11 1 45 7
2007–08 24 1 3 0 0 0 7 1 0 0 34 2
2008–09 21 2 2 1 3 0 6 0 3 0 35 3
2009–10 28 3 0 0 2 1 7 3 1 0 38 7
2010–11 22 1 3 0 0 0 7 0 1 0 33 1
2011–12 17 4 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 21 4
2012–13 16 1 3 0 0 0 2 0 21 1
Total 499 107 49 13 21 9 134 26 15 0 718 155

Statistics accurate as of match played 19 May 2013.[105]

International statistics[edit]

National team statistics[edit]

England national team
Year Apps Goals
1997 5 3
1998 9 1
1999 6 5
2000 10 1
2001 10 3
2002 11 0
2003 8 0
2004 7 1
Total 66 14

[106][107]

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list England's goal tally first.[106][108]
# Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 4 June 1997 Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes, France 2  Italy 2–0 2–0 Tournoi de France
2 10 September 1997 Wembley Stadium, London, England 4  Moldova 1–0 4–0 1998 FIFA World Cup qual.
3 15 November 1997 Wembley Stadium, London, England 5  Cameroon 2–0 2–0 Friendly
4 15 June 1998 Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, France 8  Tunisia 2–0 2–0 1998 FIFA World Cup
5 27 March 1999 Wembley Stadium, London, England 16  Poland 1–0 3–1 UEFA Euro 2000 qual.
6 2–0
7 3–1
8 13 November 1999 Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland 19  Scotland 1–0 2–0 UEFA Euro 2000 qual.
9 2–0
10 12 June 2000 Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands 25  Portugal 1–0 2–3 UEFA Euro 2000
11 28 March 2001 Qemal Stafa Stadium, Tirana, Albania 33  Albania 2–0 3–1 2002 FIFA World Cup qual.
12 25 May 2001 Pride Park, Derby, England 34  Mexico 1–0 4–0 Friendly
13 6 June 2001 Olympic Stadium, Athens, Greece 35  Greece 1–0 2–0 2002 FIFA World Cup qual.
14 21 June 2004 Estádio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal 65  Croatia 1–1 4–2 UEFA Euro 2004

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Manchester United

International[edit]

England

Individual[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Includes other competitive competitions, including the FA Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, FIFA Club World Cup

References[edit]

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External links[edit]