Paul Scholes believes comments as a pundit caused Manchester United to snub him for coaching role

by Leo Nieboer

Paul Scholes believes that comments he made about Manchester United’s form under Louis van Gaal precluded him from receiving the Under 23 job at the club last summer.

Scholes received torrents of abuse from supporters for scathing comments made about Van Gaal’s side alongside refusing to hold back on Jose Mourinho’s men during the nascent stages of their development.

He has cut down on the number of punditry he does and his comments have been more lukewarm in recent times.

And Scholes, in an interview with the Daily Mail, noted that Ricky Spragia possibly got the Under 23 job last summer over him as a reaction from the club to his comments made on BT Sport.

“I don’t think the club were particularly interested,” he said.

“Maybe it was because I hadn’t been too complimentary about a couple of their performances while I’ve been working as a television pundit. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be complimentary.

“I was just giving my honest views whenever I saw them. It’s different now but the way they were before Mourinho arrived, not really competing, it was difficult to dodge around it.

“They employed me for 20 years and I had the best time of my life there and I don’t want to be slagging them off all the time but when you see what happened and the way they played sometimes, it was very difficult to defend.

“The only club I want to be at is Man United and I thought I had a good chance of doing the Under 23s. That coaching role was something I really wanted to do but it didn’t happen.”

The essence of what Scholes says as a pundit is always essentially on the money, and doesn’t really differ from other former teammates like Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen.

What caused a stir, however, was the way he went about saying it. While others adopted a palatable television persona, delivering their message as they see it but through the prism of neutral, educated observer, Scholes was always going to speak in his language: laconic, dry, slightly sardonic, and always as a fan first and pundit second.

We’re not used to this as an audience, and so we hit out at him. In a way, Scholes doesn’t belong to the anodyne studios of BT. He is too earthy and honest. There are no doubts that, in one way or another, he looks more at home on the pitch.

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