Paul Scholes, in his role as a pundit for beIN SPORTS for the World Cup, has talked about his decision to come out of retirement during the 2011-12 season.
Having spoken to Mike Phelan and Sir Alex Ferguson beforehand, his first game back was against rivals Manchester City, as Manchester United beat them 3-2 to knock them out of the FA Cup.
But Scholes has revealed that had Ferguson turned him down, he would have signed for another club because he knew he had more playing time in him.
Scholes played for a further season after that and hung up his boots after playing 21 games in all competitions on United’s way to winning the record breaking 20th league title.
I was playing 20 to 25 games a season, which the manager said I would do, but I wasn’t feeling great. I wasn’t a force or controlling the games in the way I wanted to. I finished at the wrong time the first time. The manager said that I had another year in me at least but I just didn’t feel that way at the time.
As time went on, I got to about Christmas time coaching the reserve team and the first team was struggling. I think Fabio and Phil Jones were playing centre-midfield at Christmas and I’d been training so hard, probably than I ever had been. I was probably fitter than I ever had been. So I was thinking about it and knocked on Mike Phelan’s door and said ‘I fancy coming back to play.’ I was a nervous wreck thinking about it. I just wanted to get a feeling of where he thought the manager would go with it. If he’d said no I would have gone somewhere else because I needed to play. But he thought it was a great idea so the day after, nervous again, I knocked on the manager’s door. I must have been there at 7.30am because I couldn’t wait. He shook my hand straight away and said we’ll get it sorted.
I think the mistake I did make was playing the season after that. I was done then. I remember playing against Tottenham and Gareth Bale running at me and I thought ‘that’s game over.’ I was even too slow to kick him, that was the problem!