What made Paul Scholes so special

by Sam Peoples

Marcello Lippi: “Paul Scholes would have been one of my first choices for putting together a great team – that goes to show how highly I have always rated him. He would have been one of the first players I’d have bought, given the chance”

Glenn Hoddle: “There isn’t a player of his mould anywhere in the world.”

Laurent Blanc: “I tell anyone who asks me – Scholes is the best English player.”

Zinedine Zidane: “My toughest opponent? Scholes of Manchester. He is the complete midfielder. Scholes is undoubtedly the greatest midfielder of his generation. There is no doubt for me that Paul Scholes is still in a class of his own. He’s almost untouchable in what he does. I never tire of watching him play. You rarely come across the complete footballer, but Scholes is as close to it as you can get. One of my regrets is that the opportunity to play alongside him never presented itself during my career.”

Thierry Henry: “Without any doubt the best player in the Premiership has to be Scholes. He knows how to do everything, and he is one who directs the way his team plays. On top of that, he has indestructible mental strength and he is a genuine competitor. I can’t understand why Scholes has never won the player of the year award. He should have won it long ago. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t seek the limelight like some of the other ‘stars’.”

Jose Mourinho: “Why isn’t he playing for England? It is crazy. Only in England. Scholes is a great, great player. So experienced and still, for me, one of the best in the world in midfield. Manchester United are lucky to have him.”

Xabi Alonso: “Fans in Spain rate him very highly and I admire him a huge amount. To me Paul [Scholes] is a role model. He is the best midfielder I’ve seen in the last 15 or 20 years.”

Cesc Fabregas: “He is the one whose level I aspire to. He is the best player in the Premier League.”

Alan Hansen: “He is one of the top three to five players to have ever played in the Premier League – his passing, movement and technique set examples to everyone, not just younger players.”

Patrick Vieira: “The player in the Premiership I admire most? Easy – Scholes.”

Xavi: ‘In the last 15 to 20 years the best central midfielder that I have seen — the most complete — is Scholes. I have spoken with Xabi Alonso about this many times. Scholes is a spectacular player who has everything. He can play the final pass, he can score, he is strong, he never gets knocked off the ball and he doesn’t give possession away. If he had been Spanish then maybe he would have been valued more.’

Micah Richards : “He’s always in the right position, always seems to be at the end of the box when the ball drops in. The complete midfielder – when he’s fit, he’s the best. Some go missing but he’s in the right place at the right time. He’s my favourite player of all-time, unbelievable. If you give him a chance it’s a goal, isn’t it?”

Alan Shearer : “If you ask footballers to pick out the player they most admire, so many of them will pick Paul Scholes. He can tackle, and his passing and shooting is of the highest level. He’s the most consistent and naturally gifted player we’ve had for a long, long time.”

Eidur Gudjohnsen : “I’m more an admirer of Paul Scholes than I am of Ronaldo. Ronaldo is a fantastic player, but he has 10 other great players around him every week…Scholes is one of the most complete footballers I’ve ever seen. His one-touch play is phenomenal. Whenever I have played against him, I never felt I could get close to him.”

Edgar Davids : “”Every one of us (midfielders) is just trying to become as good as him. Everyone can learn from Paul Scholes.”

Edgar Davids : “I’m not the best, Paul Scholes is.”

Sam Allardyce : “There is not a better midfield player in the world.”

Kevin Keegan : “What United have got that Chelsea haven’t is Paul Scholes. I think he is different to anything else in English football.”

Gordon Strachan : “Paul Scholes has been the best England midfield player for 30-odd years. You’d probably have to go back to Bobby Charlton to find someone who could do as much as Scholes. When the ball arrives at his feet he could tell you where every player on that pitch is at that moment. His awareness is superb.”

Veron while at Chelsea being asked in an interview who’s the best english player : “Paul Scholes.”

Park Ji Sung when asked by the club’s official home page which United player he would like to see in the red shirt of the Taeguk Warriors : “It has to be Paul Scholes.”

David Beckham said that, among his teammates at Real Madrid, which included Zinedine Zidane, Raúl, Ronaldo, Luís Figo and Roberto Carlos, Scholes was the most admired opponent : “He’s always one of those people others talk about. Even playing at Real Madrid, the players always say to me ‘what’s he like’? They respect him as a footballer, and to have that respect from some of those players is great.”

Brian Kidd : “Paul Scholes had the best football brain I’d ever seen in a kid. Let’s face it. Paul Scholes is in a class of its own.”

Rio Ferdinand : “I can honestly say Paul is the best player in the England squad. For me he is the complete player.”

Rio Ferdinand : “For me, it’s Paul Scholes. He’ll do ridiculous things in training like say, “You see that tree over there?” – it’ll be 40 yards away – “I’m going to hit it”. And he’ll do it. Everyone at the club considers him the best.”

Phil Neville : “Paul, for me, is the best player in the England team. It worries teams. Speak to any other international team and they will single Paul out as England’s key player. For me, he doesn’t get the full credit that he deserves. He is a world-class player and deserves to be up there with the likes of Zidane and Figo.”

Gary Neville : “I wouldn’t swap Paul Scholes for anybody. He is quite simply the most complete footballer I have ever played with. He is the best.”

Gary Neville : “Paul Scholes is the best player I’ve ever played with. There’s talent in every part of his game.”

Steve Bruce : “He’s the best player in Britain in my opinion and he has to get himself fit just before we are due to play at Old Trafford. I cannot pay Paul a bigger compliment than to say that he’s the most complete footballer in the country. The best bar none.”

Roy Keane : “An amazingly gifted player who remained an unaffected human being.”

George Best : “To be honest I think England have lost their best player. Certainly he’s the most consistent and naturally gifted player we’ve had for a long, long time.”

Sir Bobby Charlton : “I am sorry for England because they don’t have any player like him. You can talk about others but there is no one else like him. He is the best technical player England has without any question. He could have had a lot more caps if he had carried on. And if I was the manager he would have ended up with more than I did – easy”

Sir Bobby Charlton : “He’s always so in control and pinpoint accurate with his passing – a beautiful player to watch.”

Sir Bobby Charlton : “Paul Scholes is my favourite player. He epitomises the spirit of Manchester United and everything that is good about football.”

Sir Alex Ferguson : “Very few players can do that, but Scholes is one of them – and I knew he was one of them. That’s why, without question, I think Paul Scholes is the best player in England. He’s got the best skills, the best brain. No one can match him.”

Sir Alex Ferguson : Sir Alex Ferguson gave evidence in court on behalf of one of his former trainees and listened to the prosecution barrister’s list of United’s top players.

Luis Figo: “I’m star-struck when I see Paul Scholes because you never see him. On the pitch you can’t catch him. Off the pitch he disappears.”

Ronaldinho: “I want to pass like him. Who taught him how to do that?”

Messi: “At La Masia his name was mentioned a lot. He’s a teacher.”

Gerard Pique: “One of the best players I’ve ever seen in my life. Spectacular in training. Playing with him was a joy.”

Pep Guardiola: “Out of everyone at Manchester United, I would pick out Scholes – he is the best midfielder of his generation. I would have loved to have played alongside him.”

Wayne Rooney: “The best I’ve played with – no question. His touch, passing, vision, composure is outstanding. I try to copy him.”

C. Ronaldo: “He is the best I’ve played with. He is amazing.”

Roy Keane: “Scholesy is just the model professional. I remember that whenever we were playing in Europe, at half-time there were players running to get his shirt. That just goes to show how highly he’s thought of on the continent. He’s a master.”

Fabio Capello: “It’s a shame he’s not available for England. If he was, he’d be the first name in my squad.”

Socrates: “Good enough to play for Brazil. I love to watch Scholes, to see him pass, the boy with the red hair and the red shirt.”

Samir Nasri: “Great player, world class player. The English Zizou”

Ronaldo: “He is the phenomenon.”

Emmanuel Petit: “At Arsenal, me and Patrick Vieira didn’t want to face Scholes. We would avoid him.”

Andriy Schevchenko: “They have two of the world’s best young players in Ronaldo and Rooney, but the player who most impresses me is Paul Scholes. He is United’s most important player, and makes most things happen on the pitch.”

Michael Owen: “Nobody on this planet has a range of passing like Paul Scholes. Training every day is a pleasure just watching him.”

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