Thursday 14 December 2017

Scholes hailed by Ferguson as 'master of his trade'

Hugs all round: Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs embrace after United beat Newcastle 3-0. Photo: Getty Images
Hugs all round: Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs embrace after United beat Newcastle 3-0. Photo: Getty Images

Mark Ogden

Sir Alex Ferguson labelled Paul Scholes as a "master of his trade" after the 35 year-old inspired Manchester United to victory against Newcastle United at Old Trafford.

Newcastle United, promoted as champions from the Championship last season, were outclassed by Ferguson’s team, who began their campaign with a comfortable win with goals from Dimitar Berbatov, Darren Fletcher and Ryan Giggs, who maintained his record of scoring in each of the Premier League’s 19 seasons.

But it was the performance of Scholes, Manchester United’s creative force in midfield, which proved the foundation of the home side’s victory.

The former England midfielder created two of United’s three goals and Ferguson admitted that Scholes is showing no sign of allowing age to curtail his career.

Ferguson said: “Scholes proved again that he is just a master of his trade. His vision and passing range and his willingness to play is marvellous.

“He's still got the appetite to play and both him and Ryan Giggs have retained that. They are something special.

"I hope they are not a dying breed. The game needs players like that, but there are plenty of good players in our country. Sometimes we beat ourselves up about it, but there are a lot of good ones.

"But Paul looks after himself. Last season was his first one without injury for a very long time. That's key for Paul. If he stays fit he can play on."

Scholes’s performance overshadowed that of Berbatov, whose opening goal embellished a confident display by the Bulgarian.

The former Tottenham forward has yet to find his best form at Old Trafford, almost two years after his £30.75m arrival at United, but Ferguson insisted he proved his credentials against Newcastle.

“He’s [Berbatov] a terrific player, there’s no question about that.” Ferguson said. “He brings balance and vision to the game.

“I thought he should have scored four or five tonight. He was a bit careless in his finishing, but he had marvellous performance.”

While United failed to match Chelsea’s emphatic 6-0 opening day victory against West Brom, their impressive performance prompted Ferguson to insist that his team are ready to challenge Carlo Ancelotti’s squad for the title.

He said: “I think we’ll be up there again, but I think Chelsea are the team to beat. We are focusing on that.

“I was asked if the six goals at Chelsea put us under pressure. At this time of the season, no, but we are pleased we won 3-0.

“You never know, goals could come into it at the end of the season. Last season Chelsea won by a landslide as far as goals are concerned and we’re conscious of that.

“We have got goals in our team, there is no doubt about that too. The important thing was to win well today and we did that.”

Despite romping to the Championship title last season, Newcastle rarely looked like troubling United and manager Chris Hughton admitted that his players cannot take time adapting to life back in the Premier League.

Hughton said: “If there is one lesson to be learned, and one that must be learned quickly, it is that the quality of the teams in this division is so high. United were so clinical on the attack.

“But we can take the positive out of this because we won’t be playing against the likes of United every week.”

Irish Independent Sport Star Awards

Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport