Paul Scholes had a reputation of shying away from the camera when he was a Manchester United player. Following Scholes’ 500th game for United, where he scored in our 2-0 win over Liverpool, Sir Alex Ferguson laughed when he was asked whether Scholes would be following him for an interview.
Since retiring, Scholes has become a pundit for BT Sport and has been very critical of the managers that have followed Ferguson, particularly Louis van Gaal.
Speaking exclusively to RoM on behalf of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Scholes claims it was a myth that he swerved interviews and has talked about the possibility of him returning to United as a coach.
RoM: You used to avoid interviews quite a lot when you were a player. Now you’re a pundit, you give your opinions on camera all the time. How does that feel? Did you just not like giving interviews when you were a player?
Scholes: I did every interview that I was supposed to. Whenever I had to do it, I did it.
RoM: Was that a bit of a myth then?
S: Yeah, bit of a myth. Okay, I didn’t do it loads but I just did what I had to do, I didn’t go and do stuff…
RoM: You just didn’t seek the limelight…
S: No. I just did stuff I had to do – club stuff, MUTV, loads of that, and that was the way it was.
RoM: As a pundit, you’ve been fairly vocal in your criticism of United’s managers since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. What do you think Ferguson’s biggest mistake was when he was the boss?
S: It’s hard to say he made any, with the career he had and the teams he produced. Erm, I can’t think of any!
RoM: Do you have any plans, or hopes, to return to the club as a coach?
S: Maybe, yeah, it’s something I’m doing now, my coaching badges. I’m close to finishing them. If something came up that interested me and I felt was good for me, and a good chance for me to get into coaching, then I’d do it. But I’m not openly seeking to go and find a job.
RoM: It was great when you, Giggsy and Nicky Butt and everyone came out [against Hull, when Ryan Giggs was interim manager].
S: D’you know what, I loved it, yeah. It was only for five or six weeks but I really enjoyed doing it.
RoM: Must have been weird, coming out as a coach!
S: Weird, yeah! But enjoyable.
RoM: Looking at the current United side, how much more enjoyable do you find watching United this season, compared to the last three years?
S: It’s a different ball game isn’t it. You’ve gone from two or three chances a game to 20, 25, 30 chances a game, which is something that we hadn’t seen for a couple of years. It’s a totally different kettle of fish. Coming to watch a game now is a lot more enjoyable than the last couple of years.
RoM: Yeah, I mean, last season I was… not dreading games, you never dread games do you, but…
S: You were though weren’t you. You were going to games knowing what you were going to see. Nowadays it’s a little bit unpredictable.
RoM: We don’t have many players who have been a part of all the recent regimes, but Michael Carrick has. How are we going to replace him? And do you think that his replacement is already in the squad, or that we’ll have to go and buy someone?
S: I think we might have to buy somebody. A Toni Kroos, or somebody like that, who plays his position really well, knows his position, controls a game of football, doesn’t stray too far from his position. I think Kroos would be ideal. Whether we can get him or not, I don’t know, whether they want him, I don’t know. But Michael will be a big miss. I hope he’ll get another year. He’s been a sensational player for this club. He doesn’t always get the praise that he deserves really because of the job he does, but the job he does is appreciated so much by the players around him.
RoM: Was it you that called him a Rolls Royce of a footballer?
S: Yeah, he is, yeah. He just cruises round the football pitch. He’s always in the right place, never gets outpaced, never gets flustered by anything, reads the game so well. He’s great to play with. A player you want next to you.
RoM: How impressed have you been with Paul Pogba so far, and how good do you think he can be for United?
S: I think he’ll get a lot better. I think he’s been alright, a seven or eight out of 10 season, but I still think there’s more to come from him. It’s a new league, there’s been big expectation on him because of the price tag and sometimes he’s tried to live up to that a bit more than he should do, really. But no, if we can keep him here for the next five or six years then I think we’ll win a lot of trophies with him.
RoM: Finally, if you could play with any player from history, who would it be? Do you have, like a hero?
S: Bryan Robson. I did play a few reserve tam games with him. I don’t think I played in the first team with him, but a few reserve team games when he was injured and, yeah, Bryan Robson.
Read part I of the interview with Scholes discussing trying to kick Ronaldinho for failing to sign for United and the best player he’s played with at United. Read part II where Scholes discusses his hopes for United to win trophies and not become like Arsenal.
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