Tuesday 15 October 2019

Scholes bows out as 'one of United's greatest'

Mark Ogden

Paul Scholes ended his Manchester United career having been billed as one of the club's greatest ever players by Alex Ferguson following his farewell appearance at Old Trafford.

The 38-year-old midfielder lived up to his publicity-shy reputation by issuing a statement at 10.0 on Saturday night confirming his retirement – 18 months after performing an about-turn on his original decision to quit at the end of the 2010-'11 season.

Scholes made his 717th and final senior appearance against Swansea after being sidelined since mid-January with a knee injury.

And with Ferguson addressing the Old Trafford crowd following United's 2-1 victory, the Scot insisted that the former England midfielder had earned legendary status at the club.

"Before I start blubbing I just want to pay tribute to Paul Scholes, who retires today," Ferguson said. "He's unbelievable.

"He's one of the greatest players this club has ever had and ever will have. Paul, we wish you a good retirement."

Having backtracked on his original retirement, Scholes insisted that his second decision to walk away from the game is the right one.

"It's not really been a hard decision," Scholes said. "I know it's the right time. It hasn't been the season that I wanted to have because of the injury that has kept me out for four months, but we have won a trophy, so it hasn't been difficult at all (to retire).

"I was more worried about playing and getting through the game because I have been out for four to five months.

"But I'm totally convinced this is the right decision this time, I have gone as far as I can physically."

After sharing his retirement with Ferguson, Scholes, who was replaced by substitute Antonio Valencia on 65 minutes, joked that his efforts to slip away out of the limelight were helped by the manager's departure and Wayne Rooney's latest stand-off with the cub.

"It's not been too bad because the manager has retired and Wayne Rooney has asked for a transfer," Scholes said.

"The players were a little bit shocked (by Ferguson's retirement), but I felt he handled today quite well.

"I thought he would get a bit emotional, but he spoke really well at the end of the game. He did a fantastic job."

Scholes is expected to remain at Old Trafford by joining the coaching staff next season, although incoming manager David Moyes has yet to announce his plans for his backroom team. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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