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By Jonathan Lewis | 20th Sep 2022
Sometimes opportunities can pass us by and almost as quickly as they arrive. The chance to win a World Cup with England is one that evaded Paul Scholes with England, regardless of him being the crown jewel of a golden generation of talented players. But what he achieved at Manchester United has now become the stuff of legends, only truly appreciated since the great man himself retired from the game.
The most successful English player of all time
Whenever we listen to any hype surrounding a football player, irrespective of all the plaudits and platitudes, their actions and achievements always speak far louder than any words. When it comes to Paul Scholes, a man who actually loathed praise and preferred constructive criticism to keep him on edge, no English player has yet surpassed the number of trophies the former Manchester United icon won.
Looking through the most decorated English footballers of all time, several represented the all-conquering Manchester United side coached by Sir Alex Ferguson, although one stands head and shoulders above the rest. During the one-club career of Paul Scholes that spanned 19 seasons in the first team, he won 25 trophies.
Scholes made 499 appearances in the Premier League and won the title 11 times, contributing 107 goals and 55 assists, according to the official Premier League statistical data. Overall, the Manchester United legend made 718 appearances and scored 155 goals in all competitions, which proved crucial towards numerous domestic and continental trophy wins for his club.
The true football genius of his generation
As we reach the conclusion of a glittering era dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, while both of them have consistently smashed countless football records, only one of them had the honour of playing alongside Paul Scholes. It was of course the Portuguese superstar, who played alongside his English colleague between 2003 and 2009.
But no matter which country they hail from, and whatever their own accomplishments in the beautiful game, numerous iconic footballers and managers were keen to lavish praise upon Scholes, regarding him as a uniquely talented visionary. Here’s a look at some of the most telling quotes regarding Scholes, made some of the most respected figures in the game, including the ginger-haired genius himself.
“I am not a man of many words… But I can honestly say that playing football is all I ever wanted to do.”
– Paul Scholes
“There isn’t a player of his mould anywhere in the world. Paul is irreplaceable.”
– Sir Alex Ferguson
“Scholes is undoubtedly the greatest midfielder of his generation.”
– Zinedine Zidane
“In the last 15 or 20 years the best midfielder that I have seen – the most complete – is Scholes.”
– Xavi Hernandez
“He is the real phenomenon”
– Ronaldo (O Fenomeno)
“The only great English midfielder in my career was Paul Scholes. He has elegance in him. Others were pretenders.”
– Andrea Pirlo
“No celebrity bullsh*t, no self-promotion – an amazingly gifted player who remained an unaffected human being.”
– Roy Keane
“I want to pass like him. Who taught him how to do that?”
“If he was playing with me, I would have scored so many more.”
Can the current England generation win the trophy that evaded Scholes?
Ahead of the upcoming tournament in Qatar, many bookmakers are already listing England as being amongst the favourites, when looking to find the best World Cup betting odds and site reviews. Asiabet has punters covered with detailed guides, providing support and information in multiple languages, including Vietnamese amongst many others.
While the current generation of England stars are certainly talented, they don’t have anyone who can match what Paul Scholes once offered, the kind of player genuinely worthy of being called world-class. Indeed, that label is possibly even an understatement, considering what the ginger-haired maestro was capable of producing on a football pitch.
After they were humbled by Hungary earlier this year, thrashed 0-4 on home soil, doubts have inevitably resurfaced about whether England are actually good enough to win the World Cup. They will certainly have the opportunity to prepare well, given the Three Lions take on Italy and Germany in September, rounding off a UEFA Nations League campaign that has thus far failed to impress.
But if manager Gareth Southgate can get his team ticking again, they will undoubtedly be amongst the sides challenging to lift the World Cup in Qatar, despite lacking any individual players of stratospheric quality. Despite never lifting the iconic golden trophy during his own career, Paul Scholes will no doubt be cheering on his country, hopeful they can win the biggest honour in the global game.
Jonathan Lewis is an MFF sports writer
Source : MyFootballFacts