Date: 25th July 2008 at 5:32pm
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Paul Scholes has set his sights on retirement: the United midfield ace declared he’s got at most two years left.

‘At the moment I just think two years would be about right,’ he said.

‘I can’t say that I can’t wait to finish, but I am looking forward to finishing with everything that goes with it.

‘I suppose people are just very invasive and are always wanting to know what you’re going to do.

‘The only thing I will definitely miss is the football, not the general life of a footballer.’


The sad thing is, it’s not the football of Paul Scholes that is irreplaceable. Don’t get me wrong: he’s my favourite ever United player, best passer of the ball in Premier League history bar none and a legend. But we have great players who can replace him on the pitch as Bryan Robson, Roy Keane and Eric Cantona have all been replaced.

His personality, though, is irreplaceable. In the light of the Ronaldo saga one must wonder how many footballers are there at the top level who think the same way as Scholes, how many despise the life of the modern footballer and what comes with it. Not many, I bet.

Scholes was only ever interested in football, not in a different lifestyle, not in glamour. That’s why he stayed at Manchester United, that’s why he did not buy into this ‘I need a new challenge’ nonsense. A local lad who’s become a genuine world-class player and stayed loyal throughout: I’m afraid we won’t see more of this kind for a long, long time.

Eight Premiership titles, three FA Cups, two European Cups: that’s Scholes’s list of achievements in short. Will Danny Simpson ever rise to such heights? Unlikely, though I must say the boy is talented – but not world-class.

The fact is that the Ginger Ninja is one of the last of those icons who managed to keep the media out of his personal life almost entirely. Hell, he’s one of the last who at least aspired to do so. For a player of his stature, it’s quite amazing how bad a choice he would be to sell the red tops…