Paul Scholes: A club legend like no other
Paul Scholes needs no introduction. The genius is an epitome of being humble and a footballer. He is considered to be a role model for young footballers. A man, who just plays his heart out for his club, gives his blood for the jersey he pulls on and walks into the sunset at the end of the end without much ado. Born and bred in Manchester, he is a Red Devil to the core. He is lovingly known as the Ginger Prince of Manchester.
Scholes started out playing for Manchester United’s youth setup when he was 14. He played three years with the youth team, in a stint which included an FA Youth Cup final appearance, along with future teammate Phil Neville. He is a part of the famed class of ’92 known as Fergie’s fledgings. Scholes turned professional in 1993 but had to wait for some time to break into the first team.
Scholes scored a brace on his debut for United in a League cup match against Port Vale. His Premier League debut, however, came in a losing cause. He scored a consolation goal though. In his first full season, he made seventeen appearances scoring 5 goals. The Ginger lad had announced his arrival at Old Trafford by displaying his brilliance and eye for goal. This was just the beginning for the kid who was destined for much bigger things.
The next season following the departure of Mark Hughes to Chelsea, Scholes started getting much more first team opportunities. He was bought in to partner Andy Cole for the suspended Eric Cantona. He justified his manager’s decision to play him by scoring 14 goals in all competitions for United. United won the double that year and Scholes picked up another winners medal the following season when they won the Premier League again.
In September 1997, Scholes moved to central midfield after Roy Keane sustained an injury. It was here, he started climbing up the ladder and his game started to show its rise.
At the beginning of the ‘99 historic treble winning season, Paul Scholes had become a household name in Manchester. He scored one of the two goals in the FA Cup final for United against Newcastle. He also scored against Inter in the Champions League quarter-final. The semi-final was a heart break for the Ginger Prince though. He missed United’s tryst with destiny- the historic Champions League final with Bayern Munich due to a booking he picked up in the semi-final against Juventus.
One of the best goals he scored, came against Bradford City. David Beckham took a corner, but instead of delivering it inside the box, he sent it outside where a lad was waiting. The lad was Paul Scholes. Perfectly positioned, he took the volley and struck it with a master class effort. The genius’s stroke took the ball across a sea of defenders hitting the back of the net. A brilliant goal. Many teams have tried it over the years but none have succeeded with the same sublime effort as Scholesy.
In 2001-02, Fergie decided to opt for the 4-4-1-1 formation, to accommodate Veron and Keane in midfield. Scholes form suffered as he failed to adapt to it. But, Paul Scholes being Paul Scholes lived through it and netted a career high twenty goals the following season.
Scholes was ruled out for the second half of the 2005-06 season due to blurred vision. There were rumours, that this would certainly end his career. But, the genius overcame his disability and rose again, appearing in the final home game for United against Charlton.
It was however the Champions League semi final of the 2008 season where Paul Scholes achieved redemption for ’99. The first leg of the semi final had ended 0-0 at the Nou Camp. United were playing the Catalans at Old Trafford for the second leg. Paul Scholes received a misplaced pass from Marquez, took the ball in his stride and unleashed a screamer from 25 yards out.
It was a typical Paul Scholes strike, the one to which Valdes has no answer to. It hit the back of the net and Paul Scholes had given United another tryst with destiny. The genius had done it for United.