Forget sentimentality – Scholes is finished

by Gavin Caney

Friday, January 22nd, 2010
 

Some players defy their age to excel well into their final years. Ryan Giggs continues to re-invent himself and dictate the outcome of matches. Players like Teddy Sheringham never needed to worry about losing their pace and continued to do what they always had. Others slide down the footballing ladder and ply their trade at lower division or Non-League clubs. Some retire before their legacy is ruined. Others refuse to give up, although they probably should do for the sake of their reputations.

Paul Scholes is one such man. I find it hard to admit that one of my favourite players is no longer the power he once was. Like a battered pair of trainers that we just refuse to throw out, or staying with a girlfriend that we no longer care about – Scholes has passed his sell-by-date. It almost breaks my heart to see him wandering about a football pitch instead of retiring to a quiet life full of fantastic memories.

The ginger maestro was a magician at the peak of his powers. One of the best attacking midfielders in Europe, if not the world, was universally liked for everything apart from his tackling. Respected and feared by all, Scholes scored goals and sprayed the ball around with unbelievable precision. He was a true great, a pleasure to watch and will rightly go down as a Manchester United legend.

Yet he continues to stain his legacy by performing nowhere near the levels he once reached. I’m not sure if Scholes can’t let go, or that he and Alex Ferguson still believes he is good enough. I’m not sure which ones’ judgement is more clouded. This is the same Sir Alex remember, who once said there is no room in football for sentimentality. He’s certainly being sentimental to Scholes.

Scholes disappears from games, is half a yard-slow and has given the ball away more times this season than in the last ten combined. He doesn’t deserve to start matches, he plays against lesser teams and still only shows flashes in those games. Quite frankly he is knackered. He is playing like a ropey 50-year-old woman, out on the lash, who still thinks she can pull the men that she used to. She, and Scholes, will  continue to go home empty handed.

Scholes should retire at the end of the season. His contract shouldn’t get renewed if he doesn’t anyway.  He will get a great send-off from all involved within the game for his great years. Yet, I’m worried the love affair will continue to turn sour as he makes the mistake of playing on when he is half the man he once was. I just wish United would have broken up with him a few months earlier, living off the happy memories rather than prolonging a relationship that should have ended while things were still good.

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  • Deadly

    Too bad because he renewed his contract for another season before xmas Gavin. But i agree that he is past it and should hang up his boots.

  • alan

    i feel sorry for paul he was the best passer of the ball, could pick a pass out over 70yards.. but he looks lost on the pitch, when he came on at man city i was sad to see cause if alex was thinking paul could get us back in to the match. i laugh and said to myself are the good times over for paul and man utd. where is his replacement and giggs and gary nev, i do think giggs has another yr in him. but gary nev an paul are gone there legs are gone i watched gary in a match an said here what is he doing , players were just flying buy him. i also think rio,s time is coming to a end. i also think rooney is carring man utd this season.. it goes to show you fergie has got a good hart by keeping his golden oldies ,,

  • dexylongshot

    Sorry disagree, against West Ham, he was one of the best, if not best player on the pitch spraying the ball all over the shop, volleying the ball into dangerous areas with his first touch, doing things you rarely see every week from other players.

    He certainly ain’t past it to be playing professional football either. Why should he retire from the game? just because he’s getting on and is not a starter for one of the top 10 teams in the world hardly makes it hanging up boots time. He could probably walk into the Championship and run rings around opponents, like Teddy and Merson did, class is permanent and all that and exceptional gifted players can still show youngsters a thing or too in the lower leagues. For me and most professionals, he was our most gifted player of his generation not just in England but in Europe. Zidane said he was the best player he ever faced.

    We all know how much he loves Oldham, personally I hope he continues to play on after his eventual departure from Old Trafford.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    for a centre midfielder who can’t tackle he really has had a remarkable career! Maybe that’s a testament to how good he really was.

    He constantly appears in the top 10 best midfielders of the last decade in everyone’s list, including greats such as Zindane, Viera & Tah Mezzanine.

    At his peak he was unplayable, England missed his goals and his presence once he retired.

    Players like Scholes only come along every now and then, in Englands case it’s 1 per decade.

  • Will Shong

    Add the performance against Hull today. Agree with dexylongshot. And so what if he usually plays/starts against so-called “lesser” teams now. The fact that he can still dominate a game at his age is testament to his ability.

  • W.A.

    I’m in agreement with the last post. Scholes ran the game against Wolfsburg (which I concede had little riding on it because United were already through to the knockout rounds) and, although his legs have slowed down considerably over the past couple of seasons, he is not finished yet. Remember that mysterious eye injury he had about four years ago? How many people back then would’ve thought he’d go on to win another 3 Premiership titles? He did not give up.

    Giggs went through a little slump in the middle years of the last decade, when he hit 30, but once he changed his style to accommodate his advancing age he quickly recovered. Scholes plays a lot deeper on the pitch now than he used to – the perfect place to pick a pass from.

    Gary Neville’s long-term future does really worry me, though. A full back is nothing without pace – and even David Nugent skinned him the other week!

  • dexylongshot

    Thank you chaps, I nearly got on here yesterday afternoon, Charlie Nicholas was watching the game with Stelling and the chaps on Sky Sports and was drooling over Scholes saying he was the best player on the pitch in the first half. Case closed!

  • Gavin

    I think there are some very fair and true points – I guess I look back and remember how good he was, and he’s not at that level anymore. But he won’t be. Maybe I’ve compared him too much to Giggs who is having a larger part to play this season. I still think Scholes should call it a day, but he can still do it – albeit on lesser occasions.

  • Dexylongshot

    Cometh the hr, cometh the Ginger!

  • Giggs4ever

    you’re right, he’s finished! Another Wembley appearance for this generations best midfielder!

  • Magikal

    WAIT WAIT WAIT…. you guys are dirty manc hating scumbags… Jealousy of a world class player is not what I expected from the UKFF faithful…..he would still get into any of the top 4’s starting line up and have a good game. Recently hes been bogged with injury so hes below par but Hes a legend and STILLLLLL a class player after 25 years at the top

    LOVE YOU SCHOLESY SCHOLESYYY

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