Sunday 19 November 2017

Paul Scholes rates current Manchester United midfield alongside Alex Ferguson's greats

Former Manchester United team mates Paul Scholes and Roy Keane
Former Manchester United team mates Paul Scholes and Roy Keane

Mark Lomas

Paul Scholes believes Manchester United’s midfield is now “as good as any” of their rivals and is hoping Paul Pogba’s injury won’t derail the club’s excellent start to the season.

The Red Devils’ quality in the middle of the park has been regularly questioned in recent years but Scholes, who spent two decades marshalling United’s midfield, feels that the current group of players is the best the club has had for some time.

United have spent heavily the past two summers to bring in the likes of Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Nemanja Matic, with Scholes now impressed with the depth at Jose Mourinho’s disposal.

“I remember when there was me and Roy [Keane], [Juan Sebastian] Veron, Nicky Butt and Ryan [Giggs] who played in central midfield. There was an abundance of good midfielders and I think now they’ve got the same kind of squad,” Scholes told reporters at the Premier Futsal tournament in Dubai.

“You’ve got Herrera who is not getting a game, Michael Carrick who’s not getting a game. Pogba and Matic seem to be the first choice but Mourinho can mix and match; the midfield should be as good as any.”

Pogba’s development in particular has caught Scholes’ eye and he is joining United fans in praying the Frenchman isn’t facing a lengthy injury lay-off.

“Obviously before his injury you could see United were winning, and winning quite comfortably,” Scholes said. “I think the addition of Matic has helped him and given him that bit of freedom - he’s scored a couple of goals already and a couple of assists.

“He’s playing well and hopefully his injury is not as serious as it could be. They have been talking possibly about an operation today but hopefully that’s not the case and he’ll be back soon.

“Last season was tough for him but there was always going to be a settling-in period. There were two or three other players along with him who took a little while to settle down. With Matic coming in this year and the other players a year down the road I think we’ll see the improvement.”

United last won the Premier League title in Scholes’ final season at the club in 2012-13 but he is expecting them to go toe-to-toe with local rivals Manchester City this term, though he insists it’s too early to pick the favourites.

“I think it will come down to who can be better defensively – who can concede the least goals. I don’t think either side has really been tested yet against a top team. When they do we’ll have a better idea.”

Independent News Service

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