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Out With The Old, In With The New – Giggs And Scholes Replacements Sorted

The problem of replacing Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes became apparent a few years ago when the players crept in to their 30′s. The pair had been such a vital part of our team for so many years, the prospect of replacing their skill, as well as their presence and experience, was not one we relished.

Scholes and Giggs showed last season that they still have an important part to play in our squad, despite now being further in to their 30s, between them scoring the first and last goals in our title campaign.

Giggs’ highlights were his goal against Wigan on the final day of the season, which ensured the Premiership trophy was staying in Manchester, as well as United’s last penalty in the European Cup final shoot out against Chelsea. Scholes’ best moment of the season was his blinding strike against Barcelona which put us through to the final.

Sir Alex Ferguson yesterday spoke of next season, claiming the problem of replacing Scholes and Giggs is not of the magnitude it appeared to be in the past.

“I think we’ve got a good team and there’s some development still to come,” Fergie said. “There are some young players who for a period last season did very well, and for a period showed their youthfulness by being inconsistent. Those young players will come on a bundle now. That triumph of winning the league and the European Cup can only help us. Players like Anderson, Nani, Rooney and Ronaldo will emerge from that without doubt, and be really top players for us. We’re pleased at their progress.”

He then went on to talk about what role these youngsters, in particular Nani and Anderson, will give to our team in relation to Giggs and Scholes.

“Giggs still gives us a bit of real quality,” Fergie continued. “He won’t play every game, but if he can give me 25 games of real quality – which he can do because he’s looked after himself and doesn’t carry any weight – then that can still keep us at the forefront in terms of players who can decide matches. Anderson and Nani will improve and that’s the reason we bought them; to replace Giggs and Scholes in the long term. Scholes without question will give us another couple of years at the top level. Age-wise we’re good, those are my only two concerns.”

Before playing a match for us, there was a lot of hype about the players. They had joined the club young with large transfer fees, and everyone wanted to know about them.

Nani and Anderson both played a bigger part in our season that we probably all imagined upon hearing they’d signed. Ronaldo had been thrown in to the deep end when he joined us at just 18-years-old, simply because we didn’t have anyone else to play on the right wing. However, Nani had Giggs, Ronaldo and Park to compete with with a place on our wings, and Anderson had the tougher job of edging out Hargreaves, Scholes and Carrick (and Fletcher).

However, when we were knocked out in our first Carling Cup game against Coventry at Old Trafford, Park still hadn’t recovered from the injury he sustained the season before, Scholes was sidelined long term after an operation, and Hargreaves couldn’t sustain his fitness, Nani and Anderson were given plenty of first team opportunities.

Nani made 40 appearances for us all in competitions last season, whilst Anderson played in 38 games.

Both players’ highlight came on the very final day of the football season, when Nani and Anderson scored penalties in the shoot out against Chelsea. Whilst the likes of John Terry, Nicolas Anelka and Cristiano Ronaldo messed up, Nani and Anderson can be extremely proud of the part they had to play in our European Cup success.

That aside, Nani scored brilliant goals against Middlesbrough and Spurs, as well as finding the back of the net against Arsenal and Liverpool. There was also his ball juggling routine against Arsenal in the Cup, which left Arsene Wenger “humiliated”. Aww.

Anderson bossed the midfield when we played Arsenal and Liverpool, showing Steven Gerrard and Cesc Fabregas were no match for him. He filled in remarkably for Paul Scholes, meaning we didn’t even miss Scholesy really. He was impressive and fearless against all his opponents and has created more excitement than any new signing for a while. He was voted Man of the Match in our trip to Anfield, when United left with 3 points. Before the European Cup final, Anderson had yet to score for us, however came on off the bench for the sole purpose of taking the penalty. He strode up confidently and smacked the ball down the centre.

They both have bags of potential and seem really eager to do well. Whilst it’ll be a sad day when Giggs and Scholes hang up their football boots, United’s success will continue, aided by Anderson and Nani.


About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Stephen says:

    Definitely, they are legends and above all thay are British. The fans can relate to them, thay have been loyal servants to the club and have created so many memeries for us supporters.

    But I suppose time moves on, I hope Nani and Anderson can improve on the promise of last season, it is a big season for those two guys, but hopefully they will be up for the challenge.

  2. PeeJay says:

    I maintain that Anderson is played in the wrong position. He plays like Fabregas does for Spain, behind the forwards – he is not a box2box.

  3. k9 says:

    Anderson to replace Scholes? Are you frackken kidding me? Paul Scholes, more than Ryan Giggs is one of the greats of the game in terms of midfielders. The guy’s passing and vision are second to none. Pray how can Andy be expected to fill those boots when he can hardly pass the ball 5 yards?

  4. Tom F says:

    As I have been ‘bigging up’ Nani to be a star player for us next season I really do hope that he plays a few more games from the start and can come up with the goods more often.

    He must continue the top quality goal scoring and keep his crossing at the same level but with more efficiency and he must cut out the play acting and going for glory like Ronaldo did in his early days.

    Andersonsonson will only get fitter, stronger and quicker and that to me is great news. He is a total menace to midfields and if he gets the timing of his runs right he will get a few goals for us next year. Hopefully e gets one early on or in pre-seaason and that should hopefully get him going.

    Love Scholes and Giggs but I place all my confidence in the playing ability of these new lads.

    The personality and experience of Scholes and Giggs will never be the same. They are of a dieing breed in my opinion.

  5. Tom F says:

    K9. Don’t usually argue points with fellow United supporters but you obviously didn’t watch many of Andersons games last season. He certainly can pass the ball long distance.

    Check out this video and on about 2:47 you will see a pass which writes your comment about his passing skills off.

    I know also, he will never BE Scholes but e is a good replacement. He can also tackle a lot better than Scholes :D

  6. Stephen says:

    Tom, I can tackle better than Scholes!!

    Seriously Andy and Scholes are 2 different players, Nani and Giggsy are actually fairly similar.

    It will do them good to play with Scholes and Giggsy, and they will hopefully intertwine themselves within the fabric of the club.

  7. Craig Mc says:

    Tom F, I think Nani was more effective than Ronnie was in his 1st season. Nani’s 1st season he has contributed a lot. He was second only to Rooney in assists this season wasn’t he? In fact he was only one assist short of Rooney’s. The lad did good!. I agree with you though that he does need to cut out any playacting, that we don’t like to see. I just hope all the CR7 stuff doesn’t rub off on Nani, Andie or Tev.

  8. Tom F says:

    haha, I know Stephen… that’s why I said it.

    There aren’t many players like Scholes about. I am not comparing them but would say Anderson has a great chance of being a first choice part of our midfield in the next couple of years.

    Can’t wait.

  9. ManU says:

    Sell off John Oshea,the most stupid and horrible player in the team. Never improve at all, No pace,Not craetive and always caught wrong footed whenever opponent counter attack because he always move forward forgot about his defending role. Sell him please and keep Fletcher and Siverstre.

  10. Scott the Red says:

    k9 – wtf??

    You didn’t see United batter Villa 4-0 when Anderson played an inch perfect 50 yard ball to Rooney, which Wayne applauded before it reached him?

    I Googled it, and found this from The Times:

    “In the closing stages of this master-class, as the rain lashed down on Old Trafford and thousands of spectators opted to make an early getaway, something remarkable happened. Anderson, Manchester United’s wonderfully talented Brazilian substitute, struck one of his characteristic cross-field passes and, far away on the right-hand touchline, Wayne Rooney applauded as the ball flew 50 yards towards his right boot, with which he brought it down, before proceeding goalwards.

    On this occasion, nothing was to come of Anderson’s pass or Rooney’s close control, with United having to settle for four goals against Aston Villa, but in one sense that cameo was almost as memorable as Cristiano Ronaldo’s latest wonder goal.”

  11. Whiteside10 says:

    One other issue on all this is the point that Giggsy and the Ginger Prince were home grown… I mention this while watching with some apprehension about Queiroz’s future at the club, and the possible effect it would have keeping players such as Nani and Anderson… I’ve high hopes for both these players – they can be more-than-able successors but with Queiroz possibly going, Ferguson possibly going in two years – where is that going to leave our top young players? At least with that Class of 92, you knew they would be happy staying at United for their entire careers (while Ferguson was there, of course)…

  12. jimmy Bob says:

    Scholes and Giggs what can you say
    500 and 700 plus games, never shirk a tackle,never a minutes bother

    both legends if anderson and nani can match that ill be happy

    I love anderson attitude and his ability to tackle does he have scholes shooting ability and the killer pass not yet but hopefully that can come

    nani shows flashes of brilliance, in all honesty i loved him taking the piss out of arsenal the medias “procalimed greatest side in the history of football ever”

    fook em and their whingeing manager

    come on lads more of the the same next year

  13. Drew Vader says:

    i have all the faith in the world that Andersonsonson will go from strength to strength next year and if given the opportunity, could be an outstanding box to box CM for us and once he adds some goals he will be more like a Fabregas for us than scholes. Of course, i could be wrong and he could suffer from second season syndrome, especially if he is sad about his best mate heading out the door, in addition to maybe the only coach who could speak his language heading out the door.

  14. jimmy Bob says:

    Anderson hargreaveas and carrick gives us two hard tackling midfielders with box to box energy, solid set pieces plus a guy who can pass and keep the ball for run

    one of them needs to step up and become a goal scoring threat from open play, both carrick and hargreaves have a great shot on them

    could one become a double figure goal a season player?

  15. Gazza says:

    Were no chelsea or real madrid. We dont buy 11 foreigners. The single most important thing for united is that they produce homegrown talent.As a manc i would rather see 11 local lads on a field than 11 foreign players, regardless of players. However with the class of 92 not only were they homegrown they went on to become the best players in the world. For me giggs and scholes are not appreciated anywhere near enough. Ryan giggs has to be uniteds gr8est eva player and has their ever been a better out n out footballer than paul scholes? without giggs and scholes united would have won nothing in the last 2 years. A perfect example is arsenal this year, no english/homegrown backbone. Ronaldo or nani will never reach the level of ryan giggs

  16. adnan says:

    i just hope that they have more loyalty than ronaldo and dont desert us once they get other clubs interseted

  17. KingOfZamunda says:

    ManU- you dipstick. O’Shea isn’t at United for any of the reasons you poiinted out. Sheesh, where do some of these so called united fans pop up from?????? You’d think it was a scouser in disguise posting on our blog!!! O’Shea is at United and tied down on a long term contract because of his versatility- you evidently have no appreciation for honest hard woring footballers and expect a team to be full of 11 Cris ron’s/Scholes’s/Giggs’s/Beckhams/Insert any other top class footballer you can think of which are the cause of much blind admiration to dimwit retards who degrade players of a lesser quality. Fook off and all, about selling O’Shea??! You forget the goals he scored agains Liverpool and Arsenal in big games you fcuckin muppet. Pillocks like you cheese me off no end, you know diddly squat about the team ethic, let alone footy and bleat on about players who deserve a bit more respect for than most others- bet you’re the kind of knob head who would happily sell Park and O’Shea and Fletch for a bling and ting idiot like Micah Richards? Sheesh, get lost I say to you.


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