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Paul Scholes - 700 Games And Counting
CarlCon (DC United) 1 year ago
Almost 18 years to the day, a young Paul Scholes began what would turn out to be a phenomenal career with Manchester United. It was by no means a quiet debut. Scoring two goals to bring United back from 1-0 down in a League Cup game against Port Vale is certainly one way to start creating a name for yourself.




And now, ten Premier League titles, two Champions League trophies, three FA Cups, and two League Cups later, Paul Scholes is still playing and scoring at the highest possible level, after netting the opening goal against Wigan in his 700th game for United.

Scholes has a habit of scoring in these landmark games. As well as scoring on his debut and his 700th appearance for United over the weekend, he has also scored in his 100th, 200th, 300th, 400th, and 500th games for the club he has been with his whole career. What Scholes won't want you to remember, however, is the 200th game when the goal he scored was actually an own goal. Still counts, right?!

So what is it about this modest midfielder that keeps him producing the goods? Alex Ferguson says:

“We always remember Paul as a young player, being able to ghost into the penalty box. He doesn't need to do that anymore because we want him to play in central midfield.”

Not only did Scholes play as the focal point behind the strikers, those of us lucky enough to have followed his career over the last two decades will remember how he also started several games up front. He may not have been known for his pace, but he certainly got up and down the pitch and did more of his fair share of work for the team. To say age "got the better" of Scholes would be misleading. As the years took their toll on his legs, he seamlessly adapted his game, focusing on his biggest strengths and creating a new role for himself deeper in United's midfield.

As Ferguson developed new tactical approaches over time, it would be very easy to assume Sir Alex was building his team around accommodating wingers like Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani, trusting lone strikers like Ruud van Nistelrooy, or implementing superstar pairings like Tevez and Rooney. However, it was the meticulous transformation of Paul Scholes that allowed these players to shine and show off their abilities.




By taking up that deeper role in the centre of the field, Scholes went from being the premium dangerman to being the magician on the field that weaved his magical passes back, forth, and across the field, allowing these other superstars to maximize their potential.

It's not just his passing ability that sets Scholes apart from his contenders. It's his positioning on the pitch. Gary Neville, his long-time Manchester United teammate and captain had the following to say about this:

“Don’t watch anyone else. Just watch him for 90 minutes. Sacrifice your gate money and don’t look at the ball, unless Scholes has it. Don’t worry about watching the goals or any other player. Just look at his positioning, where he places himself, his body shape when he receives the ball, where he moves when he hasn’t got the ball and how he sets himself to play the ball. You’ll learn more about the game in 90 minutes than you will from any coaching video or training session.”

It is this intelligence on the field that allows him to sit into a wide range of positions on the field, making it difficult for opponents to pick him up.




In American Football, there are Quarterbacks. In Rugby, there are Scrum-Halfs. In soccer, there is Paul Scholes.

While his passing, creativity, and vision have already given him legendary status amongst Manchester United fans, there is one truth about him that these fans will always remind us of: Paul Scholes Scores Goals.

His goal on Saturday was the 155th of his United career. He has scored a total of 107 league goals, 26 in Europe, and 22 in domestic cups. He also netted 14 goals for England before his early international retirement in 2004. The volume of goals, however, is not the most impressive thing about this United legend. The sheer quality of many of his goals is what people remember when they think of Paul Scholes.

30-yard screamers pounding the back of the net, sublime volleys from the edge of the box from corners, and perfect timing as he arrives in the box to pounce on opportunities are just some of the qualities that come to mind.

Here's one particularly special goal for anyone who needs a reminder....





It's one thing to rant and rave about the quality of his passing and goals. It's not at all surprising that he has his own manager and team mates showering him with praise. To truly top off just how good he is, look no further than the reaction of his opponents and peers, who have said more about him in short quotes than a thousand words could say about him in any article.

Barcelona's Xavi, known for dictating the midfield of one of the greatest squads in modern day football had this to say:

"In the last 15 to 20 years the best central midfielder that I have seen — the most complete — is Scholes. I have spoken with Xabi Alonso about this many times. Scholes is a spectacular player who has everything. He can play the final pass, he can score, he is strong, he never gets knocked off the ball and he doesn’t give possession away. If he had been Spanish then maybe he would have been valued more." - Xavi




Ballon D'or winner and three-time World Player of the Year, Zinedine Zidane, while exclaiming that his one regret was never playing alongside Scholes, kept his praise simple and to the point:

“My toughest opponent? Scholes of Manchester. He is the complete midfielder...... The best of his generation.”

Perhaps the ultimate praise comes from Pele, the most renown name in footballing history, sometimes criticised for admiring his own talents a little too much....

“If he was playing with me, I would score so many more.”

18 years, 17 major trophies, 155 goals, 700 games, and dozens of memorable moments have made Paul Scholes a legend of the game.






This blog does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of footytube or its partners.
TheBresh (Manchester United) 1 year ago
Legend. One of the few top players that is never involved in off the pitch scandals. It's been a pleasure watching his career; it's too bad it has to come to an end one day
CarlCon (DC United) 1 year ago
I agree. It was a sad moment when he retired, but I think we all got a great cheering up last January when he came back. I can imagine this season being his last though
Prophet88 (Manchester United) 1 year ago
Thanks for such a great homage.



THE ENITRE LIST OF QUOTES FROM LEGENDS.
Dgrant117 (Manchester United) 1 year ago
I wish he could stay forever.... Legend
Borg (Manchester United) 1 year ago
Great read. When he finally does finish his career it will be an impossible task to fill his shoes. We've had a hard enough time filling Keano's, Scholes will never be recreated!
CarlCon (DC United) 1 year ago
Thank you! And yes, it will take someone special to replace him, if that's even possible. Tom Cleverley has some very big shoes to fill
JayTIP (Manchester United) 1 year ago
f*****g legend
Lihanguk (Arsenal) 1 year ago
This article was really well written I enjoyed reading it a lot. Scholes is a perfect professional and a great role model for any player. He should be remembered forever! Thank you for this article!
CarlCon (DC United) 1 year ago
You're very welcome, and thank you for the kind words
Otownballer (Arsenal) 1 year ago
I think the fact that elite players like Zidane, Xavi, Henry seem almost reverent when they discuss Scholes reveals just how significant a player he was and remains. True scholars, true aesthetes of the beautiful game, will remember Scholes and reserve for him a place in the pantheon of footballing legends
Prophet88 (Manchester United) 1 year ago
One of the greatest of all times.

One of his recent exploits.
After 2 back-to-back losses, when he came back we went on a 8 game winning streak putting United back in the title picture after being retired for 6 months and that too at the age of 37.

Tribute to the great one

Peteko 1 year ago
Beautiful.

The man deserves all the honors.

I had not seen this thread, but I was watching the match that United lost against the Spurs. United failed to turn the score around and it was frustrating at times for them. But although it as not the best of days, I could not help admiring Scholes. How is it possible for a man of his age to have that "wit" on the pitch. Those perfect timings, powerful and authoritative moves and challenges, those sudden bursts and openings.

My hat off to him
Wesblitz (Manchester City) 1 year ago
A legend no doubt    #respect



   
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