Thursday 16 February 2012
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has urged midfielder Paul Scholes to carry on playing for the club next season.
Scholes, 37, called time on his career at the end of the 2010-11 campaign, but he came out of retirement in January with United suffering a spate of injury problems.
He has since played seven matches, including five in the Barclays Premier League, and scored in the 3-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford.
"Barcelona talk about Xavi in the same way we talk about Scholes"
- Sir Alex Ferguson
Scholes has not talked about extending his career into next season, but Ferguson is in no doubt about the midfielder's enduring quality.
"It's been an amazing turnabout for us in the sense of the order and class he brings to the team," Ferguson told the club's official website. "Barcelona talk about Xavi in the same way we talk about Scholes.
"I haven't spoken to him yet about playing on for us next year. But with the form he's showing at the moment, there's no reason to think he couldn't play on.
"He's come back refreshed and enthusiastic and his normal self in terms of his training performances. He realised he'd made a mistake in retiring."
Scholes produced a superb display for the entire 90 minutes in the 2-1 League win over Liverpool on Saturday as United kept up the pressure on leaders Manchester City, and Ferguson says he only quit last year because he didn't want to become a bit-part player.
"It's hard to describe Scholes," added Ferguson. "Honestly, on Saturday, he was unbelievable.
"I told Paul [last year] he could play 25 to 30 games this season and he said that wasn't enough. He decided to retire - he didn't want to go from being a top player who's in the team all the time to a player playing only 25 games a season.
"He was approaching 37 years of age and it's difficult for players to do that at the top level. I was honest with Paul, though, and I told him that if I got 25 games of quality from him, I'd be delighted.
"When he decided to come back I saw no negatives. I was delighted. There couldn't be a negative attached to it because he was training really hard in the couple of months before that."