Paul Scholes was Manchester United’s creative force for almost two decades.
If you know anything about the Ginger Ninja, you’ll know that he is one of the most revered and talented central midfielders of the Premier League era.
What you might not know, is that wasn’t always the case. In fact, Scholes was used as a shadow striker on occasion early on in his career, and in some cases as a forward, especially in the 1995-96 season when Eric Cantona was suspended for the first two months of the campaign.
Scholes would reprise the off-the-striker role in 2001 in order to accommodate Juan Sebastian Veron, but it didn’t take long for that reshuffle to be proven as a folly decision. Alex Ferguson would inevitably realise there was no better man to control the midfield.
The Manchester United legend could play anywhere in the front six, but why tamper with his natural position unnecessarily? Sven Goran Eriksson learned that lesson to his detriment, after the Salford-born footballer retired prematurely from international football in 2004 when he was played out on the left for England.
Seldom outspoken as a player, Scholes left it to others to explain what made him such a special player. Icons such as Xavi, Patrick Vieira, Luis Figo and Ronaldo Nazario lavished him with praise following his (second) retirement from club football, while Zinedine Zidane gave him the ultimate compliment by calling him a “complete footballer”.
Watch our video of the best quotes about Paul Scholes:
Words by Ste McGovern